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COMMENT





TNA: Styles pins Luger in lame finish
By DONNIE ABREU -- SLAM! Wrestling


Raven's tribute to Crash Holly on last night's TNA broadcast.

I realize that I\'ve been MIA for a while now and if I was gone much longer I would have been the subject of a well written \"Where Are They Now?\" piece by Greg Oliver. Wanting to avoid that read, I decided to return from my honeymoon and return to the world of NWA-TNA. I\'ve been out of the loop for the last few weeks so if anything sounds a little disjointed, you\'ll understand why.

Tag Team Gauntlet for the Gold
Five teams were represented (Ekmo & Siaki, America\'s Most Wanted, 3 Live Krew, The Gathering and the team of Glen Gilberti and David Young) with the stipulation being that the team or individual that recorded the final pinfall would receive a title shot for his team against Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger. Individuals entered the ring every couple minutes and eliminations were recorded when a man was thrown over the top. Unlike the old school Survivor Series matches that featured tag teams, one partner being eliminated did not mean the whole team was gone. Both men had to be taken out.

Ekmo Fatu (formerly Jamal of 3 Count) was wearing a T-shirt that read \"In Memory Of Michael Lockwood\".

At the the end of the match, Ekmo actually hit a bonzai drop from the middle of the ropes on both Ron Killings and James Storm. When he tried it a second time he was dumped over the top.

The finish came when James Storm was distracted by David Young while Gilberti slid in the ring and knocked the Cowboy out with a chair shot. Killings followed with a sit out brain buster for the win. Lame match.

Winners: Ron Killings and the 3 Live Krew

Backstage Don Callis was interviewed by Scott Hudson and showed some sort of \"mind control\" over the 6\'6\" monster, Abyss.

The NWA Heavyweight champion Jeff Jarrett walked down to the ring to cut a typical heel promo. He threw Tenay out of the ring talking down to him like a child who was caught with his hand in the cookie jar. Jarrett then asked Don West to earn his pay check and hold the mic for the champion. Jarrett was asking where Hulk Hogan was and when he would be showing up in TNA. JJ then talked about this week\'s match where he would team up with TNA newbie Lex Luger against Sting and AJ Styles.

Raven (who has \"CRASH\" written across his stomach) interrupted and said that he is still here to fulfill his destiny. He got rid of the New Church, set free the Gathering, and now wants the NWA title. Jarrett said that Raven, like Styles was not able to compete on his level. Raven was then jumped by the red shirt security team who he was scheduled to face this week. The redshirts and JJ busted Raven open and left him laying.

Low Ki VS. Christopher Daniels
This is a qualifying match in the series of matches where the winner will receive a crack at Michael Shane\'s X-Division title. Daniels was wearing his old Triple X trunks and on several occasions flashed the old Triple X hand signal to Ki but was answered with stiff kicks.

Toronto\'s own Tracy (the first member of Shane Douglas\' new \'Franchise\' faction) was scouting and taking notes while talking to someone on a cell phone.

This match was beautiful to watch. These two have such in-ring chemistry and history that just shines through. Great blend of aggressive onslaughts and sweet high spots. Daniels won it with a beautiful roll up.

Winner: Christopher Daniels

After the match, Daniels and Ki shook hands but then the mystery man \"X\", (who is actually Pierre Carl Ouellette under a hood) showed up and destroyed Daniels with his Package Piledriver, an absolutely sick move!

Chad Collyer VS. Sonjay Dutt
The winner of this match will move into the three way dance next week against X and Daniels with the winner getting an X-Division title shot. Collyer, a student and clone of Dean Malenko, tried to work the very acrobatic Dutt into the matt. This was a classic ground versus air show. Collyer went for the Texas Cloverleaf, but Dutt managed to grab a rope. After being dominated for the entire match, Dutt pulled out a small package to pull out the W.

Winner: Sonjay Dutt

Predictably Dutt was jumped by X following his match.

Abyss (with Don Callis) VS. Don Harris (with Chris Vaughn)
Ughhh, as decent as Abyss is \"for a big man\", you can imagine how this match went. I would have been much happier with an extra 10 minutes of Daniels and Ki. Do you remember the old days when being over 6\'4\" didn\'t mean you HAD to have a chokeslam in your repetoire? I miss those days, and I\'m sick of the bloody chokeslam. Following several teased chokeslams by both men, Abyss hit the black hole slam.

Winner: Abyss

After the match Chris Vaughn was dropped by Abyss with a sit out backbreaker. AJ Styles (seeking revenge from last week) went after Abyss and snapped off a springboard hurricanrana / clothesline combination that sent the big man to the floor.

The Red Shirt Security VS. Raven and a mystery partner
Raven grabbed the mic to introduce his partner. The Gathering stood behind hoping that one of them would be invited to join their leader. Raven said he wanted to team with the only man to ever beat him half to death and live to tell about it. Enter, Sandman.

Raven was worked over before making the hot tag to the Sandman. Hak cleaned house with cane shots (I don\'t remember this being called a No-DQ match) while the ref looked on with confusion. Sandman seemed set to win when he was nailed from behind by Legend who had a chain in hand.

Winners: Red Shirts

Post match nonsense with the red shirts, Legend, Raven, The Gathering, Eric Watts and whoever else felt like jumping in. Watts then announced a Six-Man Clockwork Orange House Of Fun match for next week pitting Sandman, Raven and himself against the red shirts and Legend.

Sting and AJ Styles VS. Jeff Jarrett and Lex Luger
Everyone wanted a chance to talk smack before the match. Luger said that \"AC Styles\" didn\'t belong in the ring with The Package or the Champ. Then Sting started screaming with \"AJ STYLES IN THE HOUSE\". Oh geeeez.

I feel bad for Styles in the ring with Slow, Slower and Slowest. Poor guy. This match was all show with very little go. It had a the stench of WCW Thunder all over it.

The match ended when Luger put Styles up in the rack, but took a baseball bat shot from the Stinger. AJ rolled up Luger and got the win. Wow, could we make the companies top babyfaces look ANY weaker?

Horrible finish.

Overall, this was a slow show that was somewhat difficult to watch in sports. The mainstream appeal of guys like Hogan, Luger and Sting may be legit and may in fact help TNA, but it should be tempered and thrown into the mid card or co-main events. Making crap like this the feature of the night really leaves a bad taste in your mouth.

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!