February 19, 2004
TNA: Russo's return tops hot show
By DONNIE ABREU -- SLAM! Wrestling
This week's show featured a lot more of what has made TNA my favourite wrestling promotion: solid matches from top to bottom, well-told stories and high drama. For those of you keeping track - Mike Tenay was "fired" last week so veteran announcer Scott Hudson slid into his chair and had to sit next to Don West all night. Tough gig for Hudson, but he is a professional.
Chris Sabin, Elix Skipper, Jerry Lynn and Sonjay Dutt VS. Jason Cross, Sharkboy, Jimmy Rave and Rod Strong
The team that failed to win the America's Cup last week was back in action this week looking for respect. The match started as any multi-man X-Division match would: fast with plenty of high spots. Jimmy Rave and Rod Strong are actually better than I remember from the last time I got to see them in action. Jason Cross is a talented flyer who should be a TNA regular.
Very innovative move by Strong - a Razor's Edge pick up into a straight Diamond Cutter. Cross hit Lynn with a great looking brainbuster but couldn't get the win. Cross seemed to be going for his 450 Leg drop by was caught and took the Cradle Piledriver from JL.
Winners: Sabin, Skipper, Lynn and Dutt
As the match ended, Jeff Jarrett, the Red Shirt Security, Glen Gilberti and Kid Kash jumped into the ring and tossed Lynn out. Jarrett reminded Lynn that the stipulation was he'd be fired if he lost the tournament last week. He did, so he's out.
JJ then cut a promo talking about how Don Callis (who is apparently not with TNA anymore) and his lawyer have taken care of business and given Jarrett all the power in the company. He said that there wouldn't be a new Director of Authority - because he's the Chosen One.
Jarrett was then looking for someone to step up to him. He challenged Chris Harris to come get some.
Ron "The Truth" Killings with BG James VS. Michael Shane with Tracy Brooks
This was actually a pretty good match. It went back and forth with Killings landed some high flying offence and Shane playing the cowardly heel to a tee. Classic heel figure four - baby face reversal spot came early. Nice spinning leg lariat by Killings.
Shane Douglas went to the Spanish announce table and took out 3 Live Kru member Konnan. James ran after Douglas. Killings was distracted which allowed Tracy to come off the top, but she was caught and took a Powerbomb. That gave Shane the opening to hit the superkick and fall on Killings HBK style to pick up a big win over a former World Champion.
Winner: Michael Shane
Red Shirt Security VS. "Lone Star" Dustin Rhodes and El Leon
El Leon has gone back to his Appolo wrestling trunks and finally has a decent looking mask. Dustin went to the seamstress this week too but got ripped off. His new Black and Red latex singlet with his new nickname scrawled across his back is just brutal.
Rhodes was kept in the corner of the Red Shirts for most of the match was double teamed while constantly trying to tag in the Lion. The masked man finally got the hot tag made Northcutt and Legend look weak and won the match with a Rock Bottom.
Winners: Rhodes and Leon
After the match Rhodes and El Leon were attacked by The Naturals, but quickly run off. Backstage, the Red Shirts were yelling at Kid Kash about not bringing back up, etc. Jarrett then smashed Legend across the head from behind. He said there would be no dissention in his camp and told Northcutt to make a decision. Northcutt looked and his partner and then walked away leaving him on the floor out cold.
Jonny Fairplay was then introduced. Somebody tell this idiot that when your arm is in a sling and you're supposed to be selling an injury - you shouldn't use that arm when you speak to point at people and open a magazine. Moron.
Fairplay apologized for not bringing out Joanie Laurer and pretended to not know her name. Scott Hudson said that Laurer actually reneged on her contract. He said that he didn't want Joanie on the show because of her demands: Creatine, first-class plane tickets and a picture of Triple H. Fairplay then made some stupid jokes about Triple H's nose. Oh lord. Horrible promo. One of the worst ever.
AJ Styles interrupted. Thank everything. AJ cut a promo on Fairplay and went to kick his ass but was stopped by the big man Abyss. Which started our next match.
Abyss VS. AJ Styles
These men are co-holders of the NWA-TNA Tag Team titles. Obviously they don't get along, so whoever was to win this one on one match would take both titles and pick their own partner next week.
This was a terrific match. AJ looks great against almost anybody - and a match like this showcases why many have called Abyss the best working big man today. Awesome move saw Abyss stand on the second rope and pull AJ up by his neck. AJ hit a crazy move - springboard off the ropes BACKWARDS into a reverse DDT. With Abyss sitting on the top rope, AJ jumped and kicked him in the head, then snapped off a hurricanrana. AJ then brought a table into the ring.
Styles tried to Powerbomb Abyss from the top rope into the table, but Jarrett ran down and attacked the former champion.
Winner: AJ by DQ
After the match Abyss picked Styles up and threw him hard onto a table that didn't break! Abyss then came off the top with a knee that drove hard into the edge because it tipped over with Styles on it while the monster flew through the air. Crazy.
Backstage Terry Taylor interviewed Johnny Swinger and Simon Diamond again asking which of them signed with Jarrett's team. They both say they didn't sign.
Juggalo Street Fight
Without question, this is the match the ICP crazy crowd wanted to see. Once again, the ICP are NOT wrestlers - but they do enough in a match to entertain. They'll try any high spot and throw the odd DVD and missle dropkick. Gilberti and Kash took control early but the crowd brought their heroes back. ICP connected with the Hart Foundation's bearhug / clothesline. Double brainbuster by the clowns. Violent J then came off the top with a massive moonsault. Shaggy 2 Dope then went for the Alabama Jam but Kash rolled out of the way. David Young ran out and handed Kash a chair. All that did was allow Shags to hit a version of the VanDaminator and a quick roll up.
Winners: The Wicked Clowns
After the match, Kash and GG assaulted the ref. The save was made by Swinger and Simon. Diamond then took Kash's clipboard and wanted to see who signed. Diamond realized he had been betrayed and was then attacked by Swinger, Gilberti, Kash and Young.
CM Punk & Julio Dinero with Father James Mitchell VS. Terry Funk and Raven
Raven was dressed in his old grunge style - not sporting the kilt and chest paint. This match was a total blood bath. Dinero took a serious beating from Raven while Punk just destroyed the Funker.
Raven eventually opened up and took out both men. He took a somewhat anticlimactic pinfall on Dinero following the Raven Effect DDT.
Winners: Raven and Funk
After the match Mitchell had a stun gun and tried to shock Raven who had been knocked out by the Gathering. Funk sacrificed himself and took the tazer shot.
Canadian Scott D'Amore made his official TNA PPV debut (even though he's been working with the company backstage for quite some time) talking about last week's America's X Cup. He said that TNA's American team failed to beat the AAA squad last week, and on March 10th his Canadian team will defeat Juventud Guerrera and company. The captain for Team Canada will be Teddy Hart.
Raven cut a promo backstage talking about how he came across his flannel and jean shorts and remembered the Raven he used to be. The one that didn't care about anyone else and took care of business. He thanked Mitchell for reminding him where he came from. Raven then announced that next week he will face the Gathering with Sabu as his tag team partner.
The match started with some decent chain wrestling. The first big moment of the match was when Harris held JJ up for a vertical (Ludvig Borga style) that seemed to last forever. Harris threw Jarrett over the top and the champ accidentally slammed the bottom of his chin on the mat. Ouch. Harris followed by going over the top with a plancha.
They battled on the outside with Harris dominating most of the action. Jarrett was thrown into the guard rail, the post, the stairs and the broadcast desk. JJ then flattened the former tag champ with repeated chair shots.
Figure four in the middle of the ring. Harris is in trouble and can't tag out. Harris rolled the move over (um guys, we had this exact sequence earlier) and managed to escape. Harris hit a few high impact moves in a row and took a series of two counts. Harris accidentally took the ref out when Jarrett ducked out of the way of a cross body.
Jarrett hit the Stroke. Kash ran down to wake the ref. Harris kicked out on two. JJ tried to follow but was speared for another two count. Tilt a Whirl powerslam by Harris. Another two count. Harris hit the Catatonic and seemed to have three - but Kash jumped on the apron and told the referee that if he counted three he would be fired. The ref froze and Harris took Kash out. Alabama Jam from the top by Harris. Another sure fire pin, but the ref froze again. When JJ came to he took his belt and smacked one half of America's Most Wanted with it right in front of the ref - who reluctantly counted three.
Winner: Jeff Jarrett
Mike Tenay came out and told Jarrett that he wouldn't be allowed to continue his crap because TNA has a new Director of Authority. Tenay said that this man re-hired him and has promised to take JJ down. Tenay then introduced the new DOA ... none other than Vince Russo. Did anybody see that one coming? How about the entire wrestling community? Surprisingly Russo received a pop and Jarrett went bananas.
Overall this was a terrific show. A lot more action with well placed promos. Definitely worth $10 for the replay if you missed the first two runs. Just about every match this week was really good. No snooze fests at all.
Order the Dory Funk Jr. Shoot Interview Double DVD-R
Donnie Abreu is a Toronto-based writer who has been blessing SLAM! Wrestling with his presence for many, many years now.