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TNA: Failing to live up to the hype
By JASON CLEVETT -- SLAM! Wrestling


Last night's TNA broadcast was dubbed "A Night of Revenge." It should have been called "A Good Night To Stay Home" as for two hours I found myself getting more and more bored. The booking made little sense, and a lengthy drawn out talking segment in the middle of the show made me want to crawl under my desk. It wasn't that anything was particularly wretched, perhaps on second viewing I may find the show more watchable, but among my friends the general consensus was "zzzzz."

Match 1: Raven vs. Sabu.

An interesting choice to let this match start the show. Going in, I suspected that the match wouldn't live up to the hype and sadly I was right. This is a "dream match" to many, and would have been fantastic in ECW 10 years ago when both men were in their primes. The fans sat on their hands during the attempt at an ECW style Brawl, I can basically sum up the entire match as the following: Sabu throws chair around. Sabu throws chair more. Raven then throws chair. Tables break. More chair throwing. Raven attempted to DDT Sabu off the top through a table, but the table collapsed so he improvised and put Sabu's head through the remenants to score the pin. This was touted as "One Time Only" we will see if that is the case.

Winner: Raven

Outside, Scott Hudson watched a limo pull up and hit a garbage can. It was driven by D-Ray. Shark Boy brought out a plate of shrimp but Alex Shelly climbed out and yelled at him for not peeling them. Then Goldilocks exited the limo and made me cry by trying to talk. Abyss was in the trunk.

Match 2: Contract vs. Money Sonny Siaki vs. Abyss.

The crowd showed no enthusiasm as the "Goldilocks gets more power, bwahahahaha" angle continued. The match was a back and forth battle as Siaki kept avoiding Abyss' power moves, at one point shocking the big man by powering him up into a Samoan drop despite having his shoulder taped. The briefcase came into play, but Siaki got it from Abyss and used it himself for a near fall. Mass interference then happened as Desire attacked Goldilocks, Alex Shelly broke them up, Siaki got distracted and Abyss ended it with the shock treatment. Now Siaki is also owned by Goldilocks. It's like the Million Dollar Corporation 2K4, however instead of the charismatic Ted Dibiase, it's the nails-on-chalkboard Goldilocks.

Winner: Abyss.

Scott Hudson interviewed YOUR ... co-X-division champions. They vowed they would never wrestle each other no matter what TNA officials said.

Match 3: Kazarian & Shane vs. Sabin & Lynn.

The match was non-title, and pretty good considering Lynn has a bad shoulder and Shane is working with a broken tailbone. Speaking of which, let the record show that I predicted a Styles Clash of the cables in Ultimate X last week. Go me! After a brief offensive flurry by the good guys, including a dive to the outside by Sabin, the champs took over, working on the other first Ultimate X participant while Mike Tenay told the crowd at home that Sabu and Raven had both been sent to seek medical attention. Lynn finally tagged in and cleaned house, taking Shane down with a nice TKO and setting up the Cradle Piledriver, backdropping Kazarian at the same time. When the former Frankie tried an enziguri, Lynn ducked. Tracy Brooks tried to interfere and that resulted in a piledriver on her. All hell broke loose, Lynn ended up outside, Kazarian tried a sunset flip on Sabin and a superkick by Shane sealed the deal.

Winners: The Co-Champs and coolest guys in the world.

A video on Monty Brown's PAAAAOOOUUNNNNCCCCCEEEEEEEEEE-uh ran, followed by an "interview" with Brown.

The "Total Nonstop Action" continued with ... talking. Vince Russo talked about being in WCW and WWF and taking his ball and going home, but he swore up down and sideways that he wasn't going to do that now, and he was in TNA to stay. He then announced a NWA Championship Committee, Harley Race, Larry Zybysko and a third member, a former NWA Champion from Texas. As Dusty and AMW watched in preperation to celebrate, Russo announced ... Terry Funk. He then said the next challenger for Jeff Jarrett would be Jeff Hardy, at a date TBD.

I find myself trying to remember the last time Jarrett defended the damn belt and I can't.

Dusty hit the ring and got in a verbal war with Russo, which Russo can't win and is more sad to watch then anything else. Speaking of Jarrett, his music hit. Goody. More arguing as Double-J told Dusty "Don't let the door hit ya where the good lord split ya." Dusty's response was to challenge Jarrett to a fight. Blah blah blah, Guitar tease, blah blah blah, Hardy run in. Blah Blah Blah Monty Brown pounces Dusty, gets taken out by Ron Killings. Hardy deposited Jarrett to the outside to end the segment.

But have no fear, more random interference and brawling is to come!

In the back, Scott Hudson announced a 20-man Gauntlet for the Gold for the X-division Title next week. What the hell was the point of the Ultimate X then, if two weeks later they are basically going to strip the co-champs? Also next week, Team Canada vs. Three Live Krew for a shot at the Naturals. He then interviewed Team Canada, where Scott D'Amore said he was putting Petey Williams in the gauntlet. Hudson asked about the "Country Whipping Match" which D'Amore had never heard of. But it sounds suspiciously like a "SASKATOON STRAP MATCH!!!" Ahh, that takes me back. I have witnessed many a classic SSM when I lived there. In fact, kids often head to the riverbanks in the summer to participate in their own SSMs.

Match 3: Luck of the Irish Weapons Match: Pat Kenny vs. Big Vito.

Try to follow this. There is a rugby ball with a key attached to it. The goal is to hold onto the ball long enough to open one of three chests. Inside one of those chests are not only weapons, but GREEN weapons. The rest are empty.

I wish to God I was kidding.

More interference from Glen Gilbertti, and David Young turned face and brawled with him. Kenny got the right chest and hit Vito with the flimsiest little plastic sheet, then wrapped a green chain around his arm and won with a chained lariat. After he shook Young's hand.

Winner: Pat Kenny

Loser: Anyone who tried to make sense of that match.

Match 4: Saskatoon Strap Match: AMW vs. Petey Williams and Bobby Roode.

Well something good has come out of last night's show, the announcement of a best of three series between America's Most Wanted and XXX. Let's hope they can recapture the magic of their awesome feud in 2003. The straps were tied to the ropes, and used liberally, at one point they did a close up shot of James Storm's back covered in welts. Ouch. More D'Amore interference as he broke up moves like the Hart Attack. The Death Sentence was also teased but not used. Harris hit a sunset-flip on Williams who eld onto the strap to keep from going over. Roode held onto him, but Storm superkicked him off the apron (looked like a sweet bump too, to bad the camera missed it) and Williams went down for the three count. AMW dragged Scott into the ring for a whuppin, but Team Canada attacked them and MORE RUN IN GOODNESS ... XXX made the save and then stared down AMW.

Winners: America's Most Wanted.

Hudson did a wicked interview with the Naturals, who are awesome cocky heels. They've beaten the two best teams in TNA history, nuff said.

Hard sell for next week and a video package for the main event runs.

Match 5: AJ Styles vs. Kid Kash.

AJ Styles, TNA's savior arrives! The match started off strong with mat wrestling and built well, with some awesome counters and work by both guys. Some signs of brilliance in the match, when Styles tried to do the moonsault DDT or the backflip bicycle kick, Kash was ready and avoided them, showing he has spent his time off studying. Awesome! At another point Styles springboarded to hit Kash in the ring, then switched and moonsaulted to the outside, barely hitting Dallas.

Unfortunately things fell apart towards the end, with Kash and Styles seemingly missing a few spots. Kash attempted his springboard sommersault Vandaminator and fell short, likely because of the farther distance across the ring. While Kash distracted the referee, baby Test, er, Dallas took out Styles with a big boot for a two count. Styles escaped a piledriver and took Kash's head off with a lariat for the win.

Winner: AJ Styles.

Haven't had enough brawls and run ins this week? Have no fear, the show ended with a giant brawl, including Team Canada, XXX, Three Live Kru and others.

Styles and Kash saved the show, next week should be much better but this was just a waste, all talk, no substance show. The overbooking of matches (the Ultimate X ending last week, the weapons match tonight) and talking continues to plague what is otherwise a great product.

And when was the last time we saw the NWA Title defended on PPV? If you aren't going to defend it, Jeff, put the belt on someone who will, and Hardy and Monty Brown aren't those guys.

Jason Clevett is from Calgary, Alberta. He looks mysteriously similair to the great masked Canadian Luchadore El Reportero de Berberechos Gigantesco Hombre. He can be reached at j_Clevett@hotmail.com.