August 21, 2003
TNA: Shane shocks, Abyss Amazes, Daniels Dominates and Raven Rules
By DONNIE ABREU -- SLAM! Wrestling
Callis walked in saying he sympathized with Lynn, but he cannot tolerate his outbursts and violent behavior. That being said, Callis decided not to suspend Lynn this week and "only" fined him $5,000 bucks. Lynn freaked out and went after Callis.
A video package was shown highlighting the X-Division issues between champion Chris Sabin, Frankie Kazarian and "The Heartbreak Cousin" Michael Shane. The video hyped the upcoming Ultimate X Match. In case you missed the announcement last week: the Ultimate X match has four fifteen foot high steel posts in each corner. Those posts are connected at the top with steel cables criss-crossing the ring in the shape of an X. In the middle of the X, is the X-Division title. The only rule is that no ladders will be used, and the man who pulls the title down, takes it home. Great concept.
NWA TNA X-Division Title Match
This match started fast with Sabin tossing Shane to the outside and then cracking Kazarian with the stiffest and loudest enziguri I've EVER seen or heard. Sabin immediately ran to the top rope and tried to pull himself along the cable, but was cut off by Shane.
Kazarian went for the Electric Chair bridge. As Sabin was on his shoulders, Shane climbed across the cable and attempted a hurricanrana on Sabin but fell a little short. The crowd was unforgiving. Sabin is thrown to the outside. Kazarian and Shane pulled themselves across the cable from opposite corners and ended up fighting over the belt. Sabin interrupted with a beautiful springboard dropkick from the outside on BOTH men. "HAIL SABIN!"
Sabin wedged a chair in the corner and sent Shane into it face first. Sabin then took a Van Daminator from Kazarian. Wind-up Frisbee slam by Sabin on Kazarian onto a chair! WOW!
Shane is BUSTED WIDE OPEN! Sabin went to work on Shane trying to make the cut worse. Sabin went across the cable for his belt but took a chair shot from Shane across the ribs. At that point - there were problems as the title belt fell from the cables on it's own! Referee Andrew Thomas called for the bell causing the crowd to boo. It was announced that the match would be stopped and the belt would be re-hung from the cables. Crowd cheered.
As TNA workers climbed a ladder to hang the belt, the three competitors battled on the outside. The match was officially re-started after about a minute and a half.
Sabin had Shane on his shoulders in a fireman's carry. Kazarian with a sunset flip off the top, but he missed Sabin and managed to grab his tights - pulling them down. Full moon from Sabin! Eww.
Kazarian rolled up Sabin - who rolled right through, got to his feet and STILL had Shane in a fireman's carry! From that position Sabin hit a basement dropkick on Kazarian. Is there ANYTHING Sabin can't do? Sabin and Shane both hanging from the cables. Shane wrapped his legs around Sabin's head going for a hurricanrana, but Sabin pulled his man in tight and delivered a tiger bomb from 15 feet in the air. AWESOME!
Sabin then back on the cables but was speared to the mat by Kazarian from the top rope. That move forced the title belt to once again fall from the cables. Hey Jarrett: buy some better clasps for that thing! Crowd booed the stoppage, but the belt was re-hung. The match only paused for about 30 seconds this time.
Shane was thrown from the top rope to the outside and seemed to be out of it. Don West then spoiled the match by screaming "Michael Shane has too much blood on him - he can't POSSIBLY win now!!!" Don't play poker West. You'll lose the farm.
Sabin and Kazarian battled in the middle of the X for the belt. Sabin was kicked off the cable. As Kazarian looked set to grab the gold, Shane came flying in hand over hand jumped right past FK and grabbed the prize! He fell to the mat clutching his new title and bleeding like a stuck pig.
I've got to say, I was disappointed to see Sabin lose but the match was terrific. Kudos to TNA for this wild innovation.
Winner and NEW X-Division Champion: Michael Shane
In the parking lot, a hearse pulled up and started to unload a large coffin. Sonny Siaki was on hand asking the pallbearers to be careful with the casket. When asked what it was all about, he reminded everyone that was going to officially bury D'Lo Brown's career.
Double Bull Rope Match
Apparently this is a non-title match. This time it's personal. No tags in this one as Texas-Tornado rules are in place. The win was to be counted by pinfall or submission. For those keeping track, Chris Harris was tied to Diamond and James Storm was tied to Swinger. There was a cowbell in the middle of each rope.
This was an all out brawl. Choke 'em out, beat 'em down and smash 'em with a bell. This could have been a much better match but seemed a little flat to me following the Ultimate X match. Don West played spoiler again when he started talking about how great this feud has been but AMW had never lost to Diamond and Swinger. Gee thanks Don. I wonder what's going to happen.
Diamond and Swinger controlled the majority of the match. When they attempted to actually use a couple of "moves", Harris and Storm took over. This match picked up at about the seven or eight-minute mark with some unreal chair shots by AMW and a few false finishes. Harris speared Diamond through the ropes and to the floor! Wow!
AMW went for the Death Sentence but Gilberti tossed Harris off the top rope and sent him to the floor. Swinger with a chair shot on Storm. Pinfall win. Baddies go over - but no title switch. This match started slow, and finished really well. The belts should have been on the line. It would have added meaning to this feud which is only being prolonged because there aren't any other tag teams waiting for AMW.
Winners: Diamond and Swinger
Backstage, Hudson asks the Gathering about Raven's condition. Dinero simply said that Raven was hurt bad but they were going after Douglas. Douglas met the Gathering head on but was attacked by all three of them.
In the ring Sonny Siaki (with Trinity) is delivering a eulogy for the "cheeseburger and cotton candy loving" D'Lo Brown. Siaki talked about how many title matches Brown has had and lost. A coffin was wheeled to ringside, as Siaki said he wanted to pay his last respects to the great Dunkin Doughnut.
Surprise, surprise! D'Lo popped out of the box and caught Siaki with a right hand in the face. Brown slammed Trinity and Siaki in the casket and shut the lid. Crowd seemed to enjoy it and popped huge. I could have done without this bit, but hopefully it should serve to put "Cocky Siaki" over in the eventual blow off bout.
Scott Hudson was chatting backstage with "The Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels and Joe Legend. Legend gave a short but well articulated promo. Daniels got on the mic and was absolute gold. Both men hate Jarrett and were planning to destroy him and Eric Watts.
Sinn and Slash VS. CM Punk and Julio Dinero (with Alexis Laree)
So Sinn is in and there is no mention of Brian Lee. Lee has been looking sickly in recent months after some rapid weight loss and terrible in-ring work. There had been rumors that TNA issued a warning to Lee (who was also in the dog house for leaving the Asylum one afternoon and returning just minutes before his scheduled match) and that he may soon be replaced. That seems to be the case. Perhaps Lee will return once he's had some time to take care of himself and get his things together.
Sinn is no longer sporting those goofy furry pants he had on last week. He seems to have raided Lee's closet and is wearing those plastic black things.
The New Church dominated CM Punk to start this match as the tag to Dinero was teased many times. Punk fought back with a hammerlock clothesline and then a swinging lariat. Those wondering about the Pepsi logo tattooed on Punk's shoulder: it refers to his 'straight-edge' lifestyle. He is drug and alcohol free. He drinks Pepsi not "coke". This part of his character was the center of his long running feud in ROH with Raven (a recovering drug addict) and should eventually play out in TNA.
Back to the match. Tag was made to Dinero. Dinero with an inverted face buster and a couple of roll ups for consecutive two counts. CM Punk was back in the ring and went for a top rope hurricanrana on Sinn. Slash threw powder in Punk's eyes, allowing Sinn to hit a powerbomb from the second rope. Punk then with the "Near Death Experience". Sinn was on Dinero's shoulders as Punk came off the top with a 360 "Buff Blockbuster". Awesome move! Pin broken up by Slash. Laree off the top with a Jumping Tornado DDT on Slash! Spinning Full Nelson Slam by Dinero. Shane Douglas ran out and used a chain to knock out Dinero and allow the New Church to pick up the win.
Winners: The New Church
After the match, Douglas crushed Laree with a big belly-to-belly suplex. He then took out a pair of scissors and gave Laree a polite little trim. He really just clipped off her split ends. She needed it anyway. I guess this means that the rumors Raven wants to have his head shaved in a hair versus hair match are true. Look for that down the road.
A pre-taped interviewed with Eric Watts was then shown. Watts talked about his rise from lowly wrestler to his current position as TNA's "Director of Authority". Watts then did something that NO ONE has done in the first year of this company. He explained the name NWA TNA.
He said that TNA owns 51% of the federation and is the promotional muscle behind the company. They partnered with one of the top wrestling companies ever, the NWA to handle all of the "wrestling operations". The war between Tradition and Entertainment started when the wrestling side of the company became jealous of the promotional side. This was a decent storyline explanation that should have happened a long time ago.
Watts talked about Vince Russo and said there isn't enough room in TNA for both of them.
We then had pre-recorded comments from the "vacationing" Vince Russo and NWA Champion AJ Styles. Both men are laying on pool chairs in bath robes. AJ talked about all the men he has gone through and how he doesn't care who the new number one contender is. The title isn't going to leave his waist anytime soon. Styles then showed Vince his "new move": a spiral tap plancha into the swimming pool. Russo applauded.
Legend and Christopher Daniels VS. Eric Watts and Jeff Jarrett
Jeremy Borash goofed in this one when he announced Daniels as the opponent of Legend. He also announced Legend as being from Canada. Nowhere in particular though. The entire country is apparently his hometown. Maybe he can work out a deal with the creative staff where he doesn't lose in his home-town. Wait that was Bret's gimmick! Anyway.
The match started on the outside with Jarrett throwing punches and chairs at Daniels, while Legend and Watts exchanged right hands. In the ring, Jarrett caught Daniels with a PERFECT dropkick right in the face. Tag by Daniels as we get a drop toe-hold by Legend that sends JJ into Daniel's raised knees. Legend threw Jarrett to the ropes, fell to his back to dodge Jarrett, then kipped up and into a clothesline. Amazing. Tag to Daniels. Front face lock by the greatest wrestler on the planet. Jarrett back dropped Daniels and atomic dropped Legend. He tagged Watts but the ref didn't see it.
The double team continued on the former World Champion. Jarrett fought his way out of the corner and tagged Watts while in a bear hug by Legend. The ref didn't see it, and when he pushed EW out of the ring, Daniels flew in with a Diamond Cutter! Watts saw enough and pushed through the ref taking out both men with big boots and clotheslines. The 6'6" Watts then went to the top rope in moonsault position and came off with a BACKWARDS dropkick on Legend! Wow!
Daniels with a double springboard moonsault on Jarrett but he missed. Jarrett went for the Stroke but took a super kick from Legend. A long two count forced the crowd to chant "THAT WAS 3!" Immediately after that, Jarrett managed to roll up Legend and pick up the win. This was a pretty good tag team match between two teams that don't have any experience tagging together.
Winners: Jarrett and Watts
Daniels and Legend then laid out the victors with chair shots until black shirt security ran in to make the save. The evil red-shirt security squad showed up to lay some beats on the babyfaces. Red-shirt security (Kevin Northcutt and Brian Wilson) are both trained wrestlers. Northcutt (who is huge) speared a member of the black shirts and all hell broke loose. Red-shirt security were then attacked by a crazed and slightly poorer Jerry Lynn. They battled all the way to the back. No doubt JL will be fined for this by Callis next week.
I put my head down for a second to type a paragraph when two guys wearing Freddy and Jason masks came from the crowd and handcuffed Watts to the guard-rail. Jason walked into the ring and laid Jarrett out with the Styles Clash! Yup, Jason was being played by AJ and Freddy was Russo.
A table was set up in the ring. Legend set Jarrett on the top rope and went for a powerbomb, as both Daniels and Styles got on the top beside JJ and came off with simultaneous Rock-Bottoms! This huge triple team move destroyed the table and Jarrett's chances at the Gauntlet match. Team AJ took JJ to the outside, put him in the hearse and drove him away from the Asylum.
A screen popped up with the words "He's coming" and bagpipe music. So Hot Rod managed to milk a little cash out of some other sucke.... uggh promoter.
Dusty Rhodes said that next week he will face Glen Gilberti and teach him a little respect if you will.
Don West was hard selling next week's show when he astounded me once again with his incompetence. He said that Michael Shane who won the "greatest Ultimate X match we've ever seen" will "finally" defend his title. I'm begging these guys to put Callis in the booth. Hire Madden. Bring in Joey Styles! A fluorescent lamp with a hypnotic hum would even be better. PLEASE STOP THE PAIN!
Gauntlet for the #1 Conteder's Spot
Every 90 seconds another man will come from the back and enter the match. A competitor is eliminated by pin, submission or by being tossed over the top rope. When there are only two men left the winner will be declared by pin or tap out only.
The first two men in the ring were Kid Kash and Ron Killings. Killings and Kash exchanged high spots for the entire 90 seconds.
The third man in was Christopher Daniels. Daniels and Killings fought it out while Kash waited in the corner and picked his spots. The two heels then double-teamed the "Sun-Tanned Superman".
The fourth man in was Killings teammate from the 3 Live Krew, BG James. James with his shake and bake and knee drops helped Killings regain control. Daniels has now been wrestling more than 20 minutes when you combine this match and the tag war he just had.
The fifth man was "The Ace In The Hole" Sonny Siaki. Siaki went right after B-Gizzle. Siaki and Daniels worked together on James. Kash and Killings fought it out in the opposite corner. No one has been eliminated yet.
The sixth entrant was supposed to be Jarrett as his music started playing. Daniels taunted the crowd saying he is nowhere to be seen and isn't coming to the ring. West (who is a baby faced announcer) chuckled.
Siaki took the mic and said that obviously Jarrett isn't coming out, but next week "Same Siaki Time - Same Siaki Channel" he will defeat D'Lo Brown. I guess he just told us he won't be winning this match on going on to face Styles.
Right on cue, D'Lo Brown was next in. He went after "The Ace in your Face".
Mad Mikey (Crash Holly) stomped to the broadcast booth screaming about how mad he was that he wasn't invited to be in this match. He trashed the booth and stomped around as Brown eliminated Siaki with a spinning heel kick that sent The Ace to the floor.
The seventh man in was Kid Kash's bodyguard, the 6'9" masked monster, Abyss. Abyss immediately threw Killings over the top when he caught a side kick. He then tossed BG James and his handler Kash over the top. Abyss has officially become a crowd favorite.
Sandman was announced as the next man in. As Sandman was making his way out, Mikey jumped in the ring to confront Abyss but was thrown over the top rope.
Sandman went head to head with Abyss after drinking a beer. A couple of cane shots to the head didn't stop Abyss as he hit a spinning sidewalk slam that made the crowd stand up!
Legend was then introduced as the ninth man in the match.
Abyss with another spinning sidewalk slam on Brown. "WHO CAN STOP THIS MONSTER??"
Quick history lesson: Abyss was in the first Gauntlet match on the very first episode of NWA TNA, but he was using the name Justice. He didn't stand out and really needed something to set him apart from the bigger names in the ring. He spent almost a year in Puerto Rico working on the Abyss character and returned to TNA. Last night he seemed ready to conquer the world.
The tenth man in is the third member of the Three Live Krew, Konnan. Rolling thunder clothesline on Abyss had no affect but his face-jam took the big man down.
Legend held Sandman's legs while Daniels had his head and they executed a two man Stone-Cutter. WOW! Sandman over the top rope. See ya.
Douglas was announced next. There is one slot left in the Gauntlet (should be Raven) but we are told that Douglas is the last man in the back.
Konnan eliminated Legend with a backdrop.
Raven's music hit and he DID in fact walk out with a bandage around his head and wearing a crimson mask. Raven took out everyone in sight but was choke slammed by Abyss. Raven got to his feet and ran across the ring with Abyss's head, sending the big man over the top. Abyss did his job. He got over.
Daniels superkicked Konnan over the top, and then hit the Angel's Wings (spinning sit-out Pedigree) on Brown and threw him over the top.
Daniels went after Raven but was sling-shotted over the top rope. GREAT performance by Daniels as he worked more than 40 minutes this week!
Douglas and Raven are the last two men.
Raven went after Douglas immediately with a clothesline that sent both men over the top rope. No matter, the win can only occur now by pin or submission.
Chair shot by Douglas, but only a two count. Drop toe-hold onto a chair by Raven, but he is just too tired to attempt a cover.
A series of small packages by Douglas. Two counts. Douglas called for the belly-to-belly suplex, but Raven fought out and swung an Even Flow DDT out of nowhere. 1-2-3 the internet goes crazy as Raven is ONCE AGAIN the number one contender! No sign of the mysterious man in white.
Will Raven's destiny finally be realized? Tune in next week as the show went off the air.
Overall another solid show with a terrific main event, a couple of very good tag matches and a very entertaining X gimmick. Michael Shane did a lot to increase his stock and Abyss really seemed to enjoy his coming out party. The most impressive individual on the night had to be the tireless Fallen Angel who WILL eventually be the NWA World Champion. He literally has it all. I shudder to think how the WWE let this guy slip between their fingers but I'm kind of glad he did. I'd hate to see him on Velocity jobbing to A-Train and Doug Basham.
TNA should strongly consider not letting Don West in on the finishes.
Till next week...
Donnie Abreu has been a wrestling journalist for eight years and is the co-founder of IceCold Media (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! Looking to make some extra cash? Visit www.icecoldmedia.com to find out about ICM's new Affiliate Program and how it can work for you!