July 22, 2004
TNA: Six sides of steel
By JASON CLEVETT -- SLAM! Wrestling
It was about a year ago that America’s Most Wanted and XXX (Christopher Daniels & Elix Skipper) clashed in NWA-TNA’s first Steel Cage Match. That classic ended up being one of the best matches of 2003, and AMW seemed determined to make history again, locking up with the Naturals in the first six-sided Steel Cage Match.
Within minutes of the two teams hitting the ring, AMW’s Chris Harris and James Storm and The Naturals Chase Stevens and Andy Douglas were wearing the crimson mask. Both sides took advantage of having more walls to slam and grind each other into the steel mesh. Team Canada, XXX and Three Live Kru were all seen watching as the two teams pounded on each other. At one point in the match Douglas scaled the cage and moonsaulted off, but landed between the three men and crashed to the mat. It should also be noted that the camera work was absolutely fantastic, with some great above ring angles that really captured the goings on. This was especially notable when Harris and Stevens scaled the cage and traded blows before tumbling from the cage to the floor, which from the high angle looked absolutely brutal.
A DDT by Douglas on Storm almost got the three count. When Harris attempted to return to the cage, Team Canada attacked him, prompting XXX and BG James & Konnan to try and even the odds. A flag shot by Scott D’Amore on Harris effectively took him out of the match and allowed Douglas to scamper into the ring. A brutal Suplex Piledriver by Storm on Stevens almost regained the tag straps for AMW, but Stevens shockingly kicked out. Douglas tossed powder in Storm’s eyes and the Dirty Rotten Driver also only got a surprising two count. Two chair shots later, and Storm was down for the count, allowing the Naturals to retain the NWA World Tag Team Championship.
The other highlight match was Jerry Lynn & Chris Sabin (Subbing for AJ Styles) locking up with the X-Division Dream Team of Kazarian and Michael Shane, with the lovely Traci Brooks in their corner. Jerry Lynn has shaved off his goatee, which just looks… odd. He looks more youthful but it will take some getting used to. A back and forth tag match saw Sabin take a beating before finally tagging in Lynn. Styles came to ringside and cheered on Lynn as he cleaned house, setting up Shane for the cradle piledriver, but Traci interfered so Lynn set her up. Kazarian attempted the wave of the future but Styles distracted him, allowing Lynn to do a legdrop cradle for the three count.
Styles then grabbed the microphone and told Shane and Kazarian that they thought they owned the X-division, next week they have the chance to prove it.
Next week: AJ Styles vs. Kazarian vs. Michael Shane – Ultimate X 4.
Styles’ first shot at the match, and as great as the match will be, I do wonder about killing the gimmick match by having so many in such a short period of time.
The Other Results:
Abismo Negro & Mr. Aguilla vs. Christopher Daniels & Primetime.
The winners of the match would be the number one contenders for whoever won the cage match. Negro as usual was abysmal, blowing moves and looking so sloppy that even the uber-talented Daniels & Skipper couldn’t work with him. The match was fast-paced but was below what Daniels & Skipper are capable of--every time things started to go well Negro would blow something else. Daniels hit the angels wings on Negro to end the disappointing match.
Winners: And number one contenders, Triple-X.
They showed a limo waiting at the airport for Jeff Hardy. Backstage Scott Hudson attempted to interview Monty Brown. Some people seem to like him, but I don’t get it, he seems like a less injury prone Ahmed Johnson, with nonsensical interviews that make you sit in stunned silence thinking “You what who now?” Ron Killings interrupted, prompting one of my friends to say “Killings is now my favorite wrestler.” The two brawled.
Sicilian Street Fight: Pat Kenny vs. Vito.
In a bit of bad booking by the company, Kenny and Vito went at it in a street fight, and then Sabu and Abyss faced off in a similair style match later in the card, making both matches mean less. Basically just two men hitting each other with weapons, and in the ultimate groaner of the evening, Mike Tenay excitedly cried “He’s got the green strap! It’s the Irish Whip!!!” Well, at least the former Simon Diamond gets to go home to Dawn Marie, it has to help his ego somewhat seeing his incredible talent wasted. A DDT by Vito, the first wrestling move of the match, ended things.
Backstage David Young is apparently in Hawaii dealing with customs and won’t be there for the six-man tag. Swinger continues to enjoy the hula girl outfit hehe.
Sharkboy, D-Ray 3000 & Referee Mike Posey vs. David Young and Johnny Swinger.
Well, Posey is over, as the crowd chants his name. He tries really hard and has an awesome dropkick, but his punches and impact looks really weak. Maybe that is the point and I am missing it, but I have trouble watching an 80-pound guy throwing grandmotherly punches at David Young and Young selling it. Young picked up D-Ray for a slam and Posey hit a top rope dropkick, allowing D to score the upset pin and continue Young’s losing streak. The announcers start calling the referee the oh so witty DK (Dropkick) Posey.
Winners: The scrawny guys.
Backstage Goldylocks cut another horrible promo. Poor Alex Shelly looks so, unhappy. Can you blame him? First Irish Pat, now calling Shelly “The Baby Bear?” Seriously, my first words when I heard that aren’t suitable for print. Shelly is hugely talented, one just has to look at his recent RoH work to realize that, and TNA is just making a fool out of another talented worker.
No DQ, Falls Count Anywhere: Sabu vs. Abyss.
A solid match, as the two brawled around the ring and arena. Sabu did trademark spots like a flying Arabian legdrop and the Triple-Jump moonsault. When Sabu attempted a second one Abyss tossed a chair on him. The two brawled to the entranceway, where Sabu stumbled and fell back into the set, before getting back on track and tossing Abyss off the entrance through a table. Another table was set up and Sabu lay Abyss on it and climbed the stands to leap off, only for the lights to go out. When they came back on, Raven had a noose around the neck of Sabu, choking him out before dropping him ten feet onto the table… which didn’t break… Ouch. Raven rushed down and dove off a lower part of the stands to send Sabu through the table and then put Abyss on top for the win.
Jerry Lynn & Chris Sabin vs. Kazarian & Michael Shane.
Winners: Jerry Lynn & Chris Sabin.
Backstage Raven cut a tremendous promo on Sabu and the Sheik, closing by telling Sabu he had a choice on Impact Friday – Fight or Flight.
And in the lengthy talking segment of the night, Dusty Rhodes hit the ring and invited Jeff Hardy to come to the ring and sign the contract. Hardy did as the crowd chanted his name. Dusty then said that Hardy’s signing wasn’t about limousines or money, it was about the World Title, and gave Hardy a contract for a title shot against Jeff Jarrett. Monty Brown came down, then Jarrett came down, talking, then brawling ensued. A swanton by Hardy on Jarrett, only to get POUNCED! (You need to scream it for the full effect)
Steel Cage Tag Team Championship: The Naturals vs. America’s Most Wanted.
Winners: The Naturals.
Rating: 8 out of 10.
Next week on NWA-TNA:
Jason Clevett is from Calgary, Alberta. You can check out his ramblings at www.livejournal.com/~slamjay