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TNA: Challengers line up for NWA belt
By DONNIE ABREU -- SLAM! Wrestling


Chris Harris right before his suicide dive from the top to the outside.

Welcome to the St. Patrick's Day edition of NWA: Total Non Stop Action. Sadly, this marks the first episode in the post Insane Clown Posse era. The Clowns and the company were unable to iron out some "professional differences" and have apparently gone their separate ways. Well, they lasted longer in TNA than they did in the WWF, WCW or ECW. It was fun while it lasted. Now, onto this week's show.

Frankie Kazarian VS. Elix Skipper

Frankie had been out of TNA for six months before returning two weeks ago to upset Jerry Lynn. This week, he was up against another member of TNA's America's X Cup team.

Paniful looking spot saw Skipper backdrop Kazarian high and crotching him on the top rope. Skipper then walked the tight-rope and snapped off a big hurricanrana.

Soon after Kazarian tossed Skipper to the floor and dove over the top right on top of him. Kazarian attempted one of his finishers, "The Wave Of The Future" but it was reversed into a belly to back suplex. Skipper came off the top with the Alabama Jam, but missed.

Kazarian managed to roll Skipper up with a handful of trunks to score the win.

Winner: Frankie Kazarian

Kazarian put the boots to Skip but was run out of the ring by Lynn.

Mike Tenay then interviewed Vince Russo in the middle of the ring. Russo said that he has been hard on #1 contender Chris Harris as of late because it is his job to prepare everyone to be the best they can be.

Raven interrupted with Sabu behind him. Raven wanted to know what about him - and his title shot. He also wanted to know why he wasn't booked for this week's show. Vince said that there would be a tag team title tournament and he and Sabu would be entered. Raven said he is a singles wrestler seeking a singles title - and Sabu doesn't need his help to get over.

Russo offered Raven a spot in this week's Gauntlet to name a number one contender or a spot in the ladder match. Raven made it clear that he shouldn't have to qualify for a title match. He has proven his worth. He told Russo to cancel Harris' title shot because the kid isn't ready. Russo said the match wasn't going to be changed. Raven screamed about being screwed out of title shots because of politics just like in WCW and the WWE. Russo said he would get his shot but not this week. Raven said he wanted to believe Russo but just couldn't - so he would do something on this week's show to make the Director of Authority notice him.

A video recap was shown from last week's episode when "The Alpha Male" Monty Brown took out the ICP.

Brown cut a decent promo backstage busting on the clowns and their fans. He talked about being booed by the Juggalos but they couldn't even spell boo. Or tell you how many syllables it has. Not bad for a football player. Brown was a linebacker for the New England Patriots.

Monty Brown VS. Chris Vaughn

Vaughn, a scrawny little member of the Black Shirt security gimmick is in this match to be squashed by the returning Brown.

Vaughn ran around the ring, was caught and then thrown with a fall-away slam. Brown tossed Vaughn around the outside of the ring while Jonny Fairplay watched on with interest from a ringside seat. The Alpha Bomb ended the match. It looked like a fall-away to start, but he threw Vaughn up and caught him in a powerbomb.

Winner: Monty Brown

Brown delivered a second Alpha Bomb after the bell. He then went up to the top rope to hit another big move, but was run off by Don Harris.

Backstage, Scott Hudson interviewed AJ Styles. Styles said was going to beat Abyss, he felt that Chris Harris was in fact ready for his World Title shot and he has not spoken to Vince Russo since his return to the show.

Shane Douglas with Tracy VS. James Storm

Storm cost Douglas the match against Chris Harris a couple weeks ago, so now it's payback time. Tracy's still rockin' that arm cast. She must have the same doctor as the Orton family.

I hate to say it but this match bored me to near tears. Slow slow slow. Just further confirmation that Storm is going to have to hitch up with a new tag partner once Harris leaves him permanently. Storm's TNA future is not in the singles division.

Storm went for the super-kick and missed catching his leg on the top rope. Tracy distracted the ref while Douglas hit a belly to belly. Storm was out but the ref and Tracy were still exchanging recipes. Storm recovered and connected on his second super kick attempt. 1-2-3.

Winner: James Storm

Douglas got in Tracy's face after the match and blamed her for the loss. The other member of the New Franchise, Michael Shane, ran out to make the save and get in Douglas' face. They looked like they were going to trade shots but after some nose to nose yelling, Douglas calmed down and apologized to Tracy. They all left the ring together

NWA champion Jeff Jarrett spoke to Scott Hudson backstage (with Abyss behind him) and said that he wasn't the least bit concerned about Harris because the kid isn't ready. Goldylocks interrupted while chatting on her cell phone to Eric Watts. Jarrett took Goldy's cell phone and did the worst 'fake-talking' I've ever seen. It was like a Grade 9 drama class.

10 Man Contender's Gauntlet

Two men begin the match and a new man enters every 60 seconds. This match will determine the rankings for the World title. The first two contenders were Simon Diamond and David Young.

Before the first buzzer, Diamond tossed Young over the top to eliminate him. Kid Kash was next. Kash and Diamond brawled until D'Lo Brown was introduced. Nice double team move by Brown and Diamond as they used a type of two-man pump handle wheel barrow suplex. Glen Gilberti was the next one in. Kash was thrown over the top but held onto the rope. D'Lo went to check on Kash and was head scissored to the floor. Kash skinned the cat back in. Sonny Siaki's music hit and he went right after Kash. Siaki with a back drop into a powerslam.

Raven then ran into the ring (no he's not in the match) and DDT'd Russo's boy Siaki. Siaki was knocked out cold and tossed out of the match. Michael Shane came in right after that. The three heels argued and battled while Diamond recovered and Konnan entered. Full nelson face plant by Konnan. Ron Killings was announced and he went after Shane. Konnan eliminated Kash, and then Gilberti tossed Konnan. Diamond ousted Gilberti but was then thrown out by Johnny Swinger who entered the match before the buzzer. Swinger was eliminated by "The Truth".

The final two men in the ring were Killings and Shane. The match is now decided by pinfall or submission. Spinning flying forearm by Killings. Truth tried to come off the top by was caught and then super-plexed. Two count.

Michael was putting the boots to Killings as Shane Douglas ran out to be in his protege's corner. The Heartbreak Cousin told him to leave. Douglas distracted the ref as he slid a chain to Michael. Young Shane wasn't interested in winning the match that way so he threw the chain right back. Killings took advantage with his face first sit-out suplex for the win.

Winner: Ron "The Truth" Killings

After the match the Shanes went nose to nose again but didn't come to blows. Finally, Killings appears to be back in the World title picture. It only took 16 months.

Backstage Russo disciplined Raven saying he can't do business this way. He told Raven to leave the building.

Ladder Match to name the new #1 contender
AJ Styles VS. Abyss

A contract for the number one contender's spot was hanging from the rafters. I've said it before - AJ and Abyss have a very special chemistry with each other. Their matches are always entertaining and when you throw in the variable of a ladder it just becomes memorable.

Some huge bumps by AJ and very innovative spots. AJ caught Abyss for a reverse head scissors, which Abyss tried to turn into a powerbomb, but was then reversed into a bulldog that drove his big masked-head into the side of the ladder. Sick.

Abyss was going to chokeslam AJ into a second ladder outside the ring, but AJ bit Abyss' thumb. Textbook reversal to the chokeslam. Abyss then threw AJ into a corner where a chair had been propped up. AJ's head hit the chair with major velocity.

Abyss set up two chairs facing each other in the middle of the ring. AJ reversed a powerbomb attempt and hit the Styles Clash on the 350 pounder.

AJ went up the ladder and hit a 360 splash off the top onto the monster. WOW!!! AJ rules.

AJ and Abyss were both climbing the ladder. AJ went over the top of the ladder and used a sunset flip powerbomb to and put Abyss through the chairs in the ring. WOW WOW!

Well, apparently Raven didn't go home. He stood on the ring apron while AJ was at the top of the ladder about to win the match. Raven distracted AJ long enough for Abyss to recover and then tip the ladder sending AJ out of the ring and to the floor. Another insane bump for the youngster.

Abyss went up and snagged the contract.

Winner: Abyss

It was announced that the Amazing Red will finally return to TNA next week.

NWA World Title Match
Jeff Jarrett VS. Chris Harris

This was actually a decent match. Jarrett was selling (for the most part), bumping and trying to make Harris look like a legitimate threat. All the things that made Flair the best ever. (Sorry, I won't ever write Jarrett and Flair in the same paragraph again.)

The announcers said that Harris prepared for the match by watching every Jarrett title defence on video. He apparently also watched old matches from WCW and the WWF. Harris reversed everything JJ threw at him appearing to be a step ahead. Jarrett constantly slid out of the ring to take a breather and yelled "He ain't ready." James Storm came out and threw JJ back into the ring. Storm was then ordered to the locker room by the official.

As this match was going on, Abyss stood in the balcony clutching his number one contender's contract.

Harris totally dominated the match up to this point until Jarrett snuck a low blow and came off the top with a high cross body. Harris did roll through it though and got a pinfall attempt.

Ron Killings was seen watching from a separate part of the building.

Harris went to the top after the Full Nelson Slam. We went for the Alabama Jam but missed. Immediate figure four by the champion. Vince Russo came to ringside and cheered Harris on. Harris managed to reverse the move by rolling to his stomach.

Harris took JJ to the outside and unloaded on him. JJ was outside the ring behind the guard rail. Harris went in the ring and came off the top to the outside with a high cross body. DAMN! That was impressive.

Back in the ring, huge vertical suplex followed by a Macho Man elbow. Two count. Attempted Catatonic into the Stroke - reversed - whip in - SPEAR by Harris. Two count.

Ref bump. Russo went to the back to get another ref. JJ tried to hit the challenger with a chair, but took a chairshot himself. Two count. JJ got up and hit Harris with the belt. Two count. Harris got up and hit the Catatonic (his finisher) - Two count. Stroke by Jarrett. Two count. The lack of selling here is killing me.

Catatonic by Harris. The ref's hand was about to count three when Raven pulled him out of the ring. Russo looked on in disbelief. As Raven and the ref argured, JJ hit Harris with a guitar, and picked up the win. Uggh.

Winner and still champion: Jarrett

NOTE TO TNA: We are sick and tired of run-ins and screw job finishes - ESPECIALLY in the money matches. Once in a while is fine - but it has become a rarity to see a main event without some kind of interference. Vince Russo's character was supposed to put an end to all this crap. He got rid of the cage dancers but we still get screwed at the end of every major match.

Russo did say that the next title defence for JJ would be inside "the biggest steel cage in the history of this business" to prevent interference. Okay then. TNA has had cage matches with interference before.

Oh well.


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    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!