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   Thu, January 22, 2004



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TNA: Fairplay weak, ICP underused
By DONNIE ABREU -- SLAM! Wrestling


This week's show was supposed to be a real barn-burner with several debuts that had been hyped to the hilt. Fans were settling in to see ECW's chair swinging freak and Detroit's hatchet swinging psychos. We were also supposed to be excited about the debut of Survivor "star" Jonny Fairplay.

For those of you that haven't heard, TNA's new theme song was a custom job with rap vocals provided by Randy Savage. The track sounds half decent (for a wrestling song) until Mach starts. Then it just becomes laughable.

Don Callis versus Eric Watts. The loser will be forced to resign from TNA. TNA has said that all wrestlers will be allowed to watch the match from the ramp but will be handcuffed in pairs to prevent interference.

Eric Watts started the show in the middle of the ring with his main squeeze Goldylocks. Watts announced that he was reinstating one of the greatest X-Division wrestlers ever... Jerry Lynn. Lynn came out to a very warm reception from the crowd. As Lynn thanked the crowd they suddenly broke into an "I-C-P" chant. Yes, the Insane Clown Posse were rumoured to debut on TNA this week, but come on... don't disrespect Jerry freakin' Lynn. Wow, I just noticed... the crowd is PACKED with face-painted Juggalos. Who said ICP can't draw?

Watts said that Lynn was being entered into the X Cup Tournament.

Kid Kash walked out and said that nobody respected Lynn like him and the members of Jeff Jarrett's crew. Kash said that over a year ago it was Lynn who got him into TNA. He now wants to repay the favour by bringing him into the Jarrett-Callis fold. Kash downplays Watts' offer of putting Lynn in the X-Division. Been there, done that. Kash summed up his pitch by telling Lynn to either join them or face him tonight. Lynn asked for The Kid's clipboard and then brained him with it. The two exchanged right hands while the time keeper furiously rang the bell. We had a pull apart and were told to get ready for the match between these two long time vets.

A private jet was shown that apparently had been chartered for Survivor's Jonny Fairplay. Oh lord.

Backstage Jarrett yelled at Callis about how he has to beat Watts next week. Callis screamed "I'm not a wrestler anymore! I'm a management consultant". Nice work by D.C.

A video was shown from last week when The Sandman said he was bringing Balls Mahoney to TNA.

Texas Tornado Match
The Gathering (CM Punk & Julio Dinero) VS. The Sandman and Balls Mahoney

Balls received a huge welcome from the TNA fans in his Asylum debut. Balls started the match with his old spinning spinebuster into a sit out powerbomb. Nice. Balls then charged at Punk taking them both over the top to the floor.

Sandman had Dinero draped across the top rope as he came flying off the turnbuckle with an Arabian Face Buster - legdrop type move. Problem was, the Sandman totally missed his mark. Don West shouted "PERFECT EXECUTION!"

About 4 or 5 minutes in, The Gathering doubled up on Balls and managed to score a pin.

Winners: The Gathering

Punk took the mic and started to cut a promo about beating them at their own game. He had a bag of thumbtacks, but at that point the lights went out and we heard "Quote The Raven, Quote The Raven, Quote The Raven - Nevermore". There was music behind this PA announcement that abruptly ended, then came back on for a second - then quickly off. Fire the sound guy.

A video was shown recapping the David Young / Glen Gilberti feud with Johnny Swinger and Simon Diamond. The major problem with this feud is that Gilberti's credibility as a heel has been shot, Young never had any - and the fans don't want to cheer for Swinger and Simon. Hence, the entire storyline becomes a total blow off.

Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger VS. David Young and Glen Gilberti

The crowd was so bored with this match, and frankly so was I - they just chanted "I-C-P" then nicely transitioned into an ICP song. This crowd is hilarious. Simon scored a pin.

Winners: Diamond and Swinger

Kid Kash was then seen dragging Sara Lee, the 70-year-old ticket taker into the ring. He was trying to force her to sign the "I'm part of Jarrett's team" contract.

He forced her down to sign when "Tiny" the 400 pound Pillsbury doughboy who serves as time keeper ran into the ring, ripped his shirt off and went after Kash. This lasted about five seconds. Kash reversed it and Gilberti set old Sara up for a piledriver. Chris Vaughn and Don Harris of the Black shirt security team made the save.

A black hummer was parked outside the Asylum and the door opened to reveal four or five strippers. Apparently Johnny Fairplay is inside. Oh the drama.

Kash was seen backstage trying to get Sonny Siaki and Trinity to sign. Trinity signed, Siaki didn't. Siaki freaked out when he realized that his valet signed.

Sonny Siaki VS. D'Lo Brown

Again, massive ICP chants. These two had a feud at the end of 2003, and after a long absence for both they are back in the ring against each other. It just smells old. Couldn't we find someone else for each of them to work?

Siaki started the match with his newest transition move - the Stone Cold Stunner. The match went back and forth for quite a while. When Brown finally gained control, Trinity walked down to the ring. Siaki rolled out to deal with her and told her to leave. He went back into the ring with a chair, but Brown dropkicked it into the Ace's face. Brown then tried to use the chair on Siaki but the ref took it away. That little distraction allowed Trinity to fly off the top with a Tornado DDT. Siaki went for the pin but couldn't quite get him. Brown reversed a finish by Siaki and hit the short powerbomb for the win. Just a question? WHEN IS SIAKI'S PUSH?

Winner: D'Lo Brown

Kid Kash walked into the ring to confront Siaki. Siaki asked the crowd if he should sign. They chanted ICP. Some said "NO". Siaki refused and then got slapped by the Notorious K.I.D. Trinity then attacked Siaki from behind. Kash and Trinity worked together to crush The Ace In The Hole. Kash tried to celebrate after, but Trinity walked out on her ex and ran backstage. She told Jarrett that she is with him, but wants nothing to do with the Kid.

Jarrett was talking to Callis and the Red Shirt Security team about making sure they get the job done tonight.

We then had a video recap showing us how Triple X ALMOST reformed last week. Daniels and Skipper were then shown discussing how they have to get the group back together even though Low Ki doesn't seem interested.

Shane Douglas & Michael Shane (with Tracy) VS. Elix Skipper and Christopher Daniels

The team of Daniels and Skipper were really over with the crowd. And why shouldn't they be, damn it?

Great spot when Michael went for a pin and Elix matrixed right out of it! Try stealing THAT one Trish! Great 360 springboard moonsault by Daniels.

Shane and Shane worked Skipper's next for quite a while developing a nice story. Awesome overhead release suplex by Michael when Skipper was coming at him full speed. The Heartbreak Cousin is getting better and better.

As Michael worked Elix, Douglas set four chairs up on the outside, all facing each other. Michael and Elix went to the outside where the former X Champ tried to suplex Prime Time onto the chairs. Skipper punched his way out and made his way over to Daniels. The Fallen Angel took out both Shanes. Breakdown by Douglas onto Daniels. Douglas went to the outside to grab a chair but Elix flew over the top rope with a twisting plancha without touching the ropes. Simply AMAZING.

Skipper then went to the top rope and prepared to fly onto Douglas. Tracy jumped on Skipper's back on the top turnbuckle and they both went flying face first to the floor through all four chairs. OH MY GOD!!!!!!! Where's Joey Styles when you need him? Daniels hit the Last Rights, but then he took a shot in the head with a chain from the Franchise.

Winners: The Shanes

Backstage the 3 Live Kru were shown in a theatre watching various TNA wrestlers and basically just made fun of them. A few decent lines. This type of shtick is what got the Kru over in the first place, and they have gotten away from it lately. I'm not sure why. It's not like the current tag champs can actually wrestle.

The Red Shirt Security Team (Joe Legend & Kevin Northcutt) VS. America's Most Wanted (Chris Harris and James Storm)

This is the rubber match between these two teams as they each have a win over the other. AMW came out of the gates charging and took the fight to the floor. Is it my imagination or has Legend packed on a few pounds? Regardless, he still rules.

The big moment came when Harris had Northcutt up in a bear hug and Storm tried to come off the top with a dropkick. I say tried because Storm slipped awkwardly and landed on his shoulder, completely missing his target. Harris went to check on his partner. After a brief moment of panic that match continued with Legend working Storm's arm. The crowd just kept singing.

Northcutt then hit a huge overhead release suplex on Storm sending him into his corner, forcing the Cowboy to land on his neck and shoulder. That HAD to hurt.

The Red Shirts showed a new level of aggressiveness by working Storm's shoulder mercilessly. Legend had Storm on the top rope and went for a Hurricanrana, but the former tag champ reversed it into a Sunset Flip Bomb. Unfortunately for AMW, the ref was being distracted. Storm almost made a tag, but Northcutt pulled Harris off the ring apron. Storm then took a Brain Buster off the top rope from Legend where he landed almost completely on his shoulder. Wow. At this point the announcers are screaming and just hoping that Storm is going to live. He finally made the RED-HOT tag to the Wild Cat.

Harris took both men on for a couple minutes before Storm slapped his partner to bring himself back in. Questionable strategy to say the least. Storm attempted a roll up but failed to make the cover.

Harris speared Northcutt and hit the Catatonic. He looked set to pick up the win when the Naturals made their return to TNA. They threw "powder" (supposed to be cocaine I suppose to match their gimmick) into Harris' eyes and then delivered a chair shot. The Red Shirts picked up the win, and will face the 3LK next week for the gold.

Winners: The Red Shirt Security

Backstage, James Mitchell dared Raven to return, saying that those who don't learn from their mistakes are doomed to repeat them over and over again.

Don Callis stood in the middle of the ring and talked about how he will have to face Watts next week for his job. Callis said that historically big matches have always been won in the mind - and Watts severely lacks in that area. Callis talked about having a World Champion in his corner, while Watts has a $5 bimbo. Callis then introduced Jonny "No Talent" Fairplay.

The crowd chanted "Who Are You?" Fairplay refereed to himself as a mega-superstar, and after every supposedly funny comment, asked Callis how funny it was. Fairplay said he was bigger than Johnny Cash, Elvis and Dale Earnhardt. The crowd chanted "ICP" again, to which Fairplay replied, "I'm definitely bigger than those guys".

AJ Styles walked out with a chair to interrupt this brutal moment in TNA history. Styles simply asked the blonde afro, "Who are you"? He told Fairplay that he looked like Carrot Top's evil twin. Styles said he didn't understand that why Fairplay was talking in his ring to his people. Fairplay interrupted again and threw out a few more amateur sounding comments. Callis told Styles to get the hell out of the ring. Styles bull rushed Callis into a corner. Fairplay then avalanched AJ with the softest chair shot in wrestling history. AJ spun around took the former Survivor participant and delivered a huge spinning powerbomb.

As Tenay and West promoted next week's show, The Insane Clown Posse were shown in the middle of the crowd just hanging out and chanting with their people. What? That's it? That's the big appearance?

Backstage, Watts told the masked man El Lion (Apollo) to squash Jarrett and take his title. Watts then told Jonny Foreplay that Chicago Bears superstar Brian Urlacher would be in the building next week.

NWA World Title Match - Street Fight
El Lion VS. Jeff Jarrett

As Jarrett made his way down to the ring, a very hostile crowd let him hear it. Jarrett replied with threats only to be talked back down by the rowdy fans and ICP screaming in the back.

El Lion came to the ring, and immediately sent the champ to the outside. El Lion worked him over with a chair. The battled spread right into the crowd where JJ took control and wore the challenger out with that same chair. The crowd just chanted for their hip hop heroes. Jarrett then went after Tenay shoving him across the table. Tenay tried to look tough and distracted JJ enough to let El Lion slip in with a garbage can lid shot. The two battled on the floor right in front of the Juggalos and the ICP. Jarrett retook the advantage and then started taunting Shaggy 2 Dope and Violent J. At that moment, Shaggy sprayed a whole 2 Litre bottle of Faygo soda in JJ's face. El Lion took JJ back into the ring and hit an F5. Jarrett kicked out. He went to get his guitar, but Tenay left the mic and took the guitar away. Sit out powerbomb by El Lion, two count. Tenay stood on the apron and cheered on El Lion. Another close two count. Jarrett then clobbered El Lion with a chair and attempted to unmask him. Styles ran in and hit a top rope clothesline. The bell rang. Apparently the match has ended.

Winner: No Contest

Styles continued to pound the champ until Abyss came in. The Abyss press slammed AJ over the top rope through a table. Holy crap.

Jarrett then went down to Tenay and said that he and Watts were going to be out of a job next week. The show ended with a shot of Tenay doing his mean face. Grrr.

Overall not a bad show. There was way too much time devoted to the "sign with Jarrett's team or else" story and an insulting amount of time given to Fairplay. Where the hell was the new X-Division champion Chris Sabin? How about more highspots and fewer bad promos?

The Balls Mahoney excitement was quickly extinguished. A quick J.O.B. and no mention of a return engagement makes many believe this was a one time deal.

I must say, the crowd was ridiculously excited to see the Insane Clowns, and to some extent TNA ripped them off. A quick spot and entire minute and a half of TV time. These guys are more over with the crowd than anyone else in TNA history. Not only can they cut a great promo and sell tickets - they will also take huge bumps and do just about anything to pop a crowd. I'm convinced. More ICP = ratings. Much clown love.


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  • See the ICP at their insane best -- buy Juggalo Championshit Wrestling - Volume 2

    Also, thanks to Jaya Roopansingh for covering my butt last week and providing SLAM! with a rock solid TNA recap.

    Donnie Abreu is a Toronto-based writer who has been blessing SLAM! Wrestling with his presence for many, many years now.