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Wednesday’s show was not great but this was certainly a positive, thumbs up, well-booked show for the second week in a row.
The crowd audibly laughed as Michael Shane delivered a promo in which he went way overboard pretending to be Michael Shane including this bit of gold: “I am the showstoppa’ (loud laugh), I am the main event, I am the heart break kid Shawn Michaels… cousin, Michael Shane.” He actually asked Terry Taylor what his credentials were and I was hoping he’d say “Mr. Perfect, er, Red Rooster” or “fired from WWE several times.” There were “HBK” chants from the crowd as Shane came out. His match was for his new X-Title against Jerry Lynn, who used to be competing for that title. Callis was with Don West and Mike Tenay calling the match to help his feud with Lynn. Callis is a really good character, but they didn’t introduce him with any adroitness and the idea of making the company “TNA” a heel promotional group that knows nothing about wrestling similar to the SEE group which may or may not still exist and “NWA” being the good ol’ faces that can’t get over southern wrestling in the 1970s and 1980s regaling us with and reenacting scenes from the past. The match itself between Lynn and Shane was good, with Shane working an impressive style I haven’t seen him use with Lynn, who has always been a good talent. It weakens the title to have a champion who comes off like a kid (Styles?) when he wants to act like Shawn Michaels. They might as well bring David Flair and Brian Lawler in pretending to be heel Ric and heel Jerry and with Aj Styles wanting to be the great Vince Russo we can have WWE daycare here. Wait, they actually already did that. Finish was Lynn distracted by Don Callis’ red-shirted henchmen so Shawn (Shane) gets the win at 12:22.
Terry Taylor replaced Scott Hudson this week, who has done a much better job than the annoying and over-involved Goldylocks, to set up an angle. They said Hudson was on assignment, but TNA doesn’t have any assignments to put him on. Anyway, Taylor did a more than acceptable job. Taylor interviewed Kid Kash later in the show after he did a run-in (recap later) and complained about it. Kash came back with the same cheap your old routine that he gives all retired wrestlers. Taylor actually isn’t all that old. Kash slapped him and told him to defend himself but fat Abyss was in the way. Him and A-Train would make a nice couple.
The show had more technical problems than usual but they were small enough for the show to still come off as high quality production-wise. The wrestling wasn’t anything special or memorable, with the exception of the last match which was outstanding, but was good and the crowd was hot throughout the show. Most of the wrestling was good as well. Konnan, Ron Killings and BG James (The Three Live Krew) went to a no contest with Shane Douglas and The new Disciples of the New Church (Slash, who Tenay said was the leader, and Sinn) at 7:09. Way better than expected. James Mitchell’s ringside mic didn’t work so they had to wait. When he finally got on, what needed to be said was, in a shorter amount of time. Mitchell had time to get over the most important thing, about Alexis Laree, who as reported here last week, is WWE bound. The explanation was that Mitchell was trying to show her that Raven wouldn’t be there for her, but that their objective wasn’t to cut her hair. She realized Raven wouldn’t be there for her and “got out.” Mitchell interfered before CM Punk and Julio Dollar did the run in. Raven cut a very good promo previewing his match with Aj and discussing his feud with Douglas and Mitchell later. Sonny Siaki went over D’Lo Brown in an average nearly-five minute match. Jeff Jarrett made the save. Jarrett’s always been way over-pushed, and even though he has since lost the title, he needs to be scaled back on, even as one of the company’s faces because he has been used so much that he’s had a following who hates him since back in April, many others don’t care one way or the other (Triple H just shot into my mind). Abyss over Sandman at 3:31 was bad but short. Abyss is not at all a great worker and he’s far from having Mick Foley’s 1996 Mankind heel charisma. Sandman is in horrible shape. Kash did a run-in and got pissed at Abyss for eliminating him in the gauntlet last week. Even though this is a heel persona, I can easily see Kash being a real bitch backstage and from what I hear… he is.
Roddy Piper returns in within the next few weeks, probably on the 9/17 live show. I discussed the use of Piper in a general sense last week. The Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter is reporting that a source close to Piper is putting the figure at around $5k per appearance.
Simon Diamond and Johnny Swinger defeated Chris Harris and James Storm (America’s Most Wanted) in a screwjob finish at 9:08. A good match with a cool spot towards the end where all Harris, Diamond and Swinger were stacked on top of each other and Swinger came in to give Harris a powerbomb and Storm and Diamond taking superplexes. Gilberti distracted the referee long enough for the belt to be used. Gilberti then went over Dusty Rhodes in a four-minute bullrope match that wasn’t that bad but a bit long. Christopher Daniels came into screw Rhodes with brass knucks. Jeff Jarrett came out for the save and hit Daniels with a really hard guitar shot.
Aj Styles went over Raven in 15 minutes in a match with few flaws and another TNA contribution to must-see matches from the year 2003. Dinero and CM Punk abducted Vince Russo. Not much to say except catch the replay. A real nice mix of international styles and the best of Raven since, well I haven’t been watching Raven long enough to say when exactly. Match ends with Shane Douglas doing a run-in. Chris Harris threatened Rudy Charles, who got booed during intros, to restart the match or award the title to Raven. He wouldn’t. Everyone got mad and started fighting until Jeff Jarrett came out again and for a man who didn’t have a match he was all over, wasn’t he? They settle it between the faces and the heels in a wargames match next week (see end).
The lineup and preview for next week’s special edition pre-tape of TNA is at the bottom of today’s report.
Show value: $9.50. Very good show so that’s in your face to the people who are critical of TNA no matter what they do. For two weeks they’ve pulled off shows better than WWE.
As for the Rash Report this week…. The Rash starts out by acknowledging positive comments from people all over the Internet. He’s perfect at cut and paste, but he could learn a thing or two from former White House Press Secretary Ari Fleischer when the reviews aren’t as glorious. I, however, must give credit where credit is due. NWA:TNA and Borash recognize what people think of the programming, fans and critics alike and the large crossover group. In many ways, they listen, in some ways they make the same mistakes down the road but they most certainly do not write people’s opinions off like Vince McMahon. Anyone who publicly admits that they screen out criticism and is in the position that McMahon is, is feebleminded. So much for being a genius. Anyway, back to the report. Scott Keith, who is an incredibly limited internet writer that you already probably know about, said this “Unfuñkingbelievable (sic.) sums things up nicely, and this will justify the purchase of the replay right off the bat.” Jason Powell, the assistant editor at the Pro Wrestling Torch Newsletter said “You can’t ask for much more from a pay-per-view than what TNA delivered this week. The Ultimate X match exceeded the hype and is the most innovative in-ring exhibition since the ladder match was born….now is the time to give them a try. I’ll be shocked if you are disappointed. And if you do order this show, pop a tape in and record it because you’ll want to have the first Ultimate X match in your collection.” Dave Meltzer, of the Wrestling Observer, in his web site review of the show said that “the effort participants was really there, going hand in hand with the hot crowd. After Monday, this was just a welcome change.” David Miller, who I didn’t know about until this moment right now (from 1stsourcewrestling), said that he looks “forward to TNA building off this show to continue a streak of outstanding wrestling shows.” Buck Who, from 1wrestling.com, said that last week’s show was “The best two hours of wrestling on television this week. Hands down.” SmackDown was a close second but he’s right. Wade Keller, also from the Torch, spent his time taking shots at WWE, although RAW was really awful last week, “TNA didn’t resort to cruddy rape or comic book segments. It stuck to Booking 101 this week and let the talents of the wrestlers carry it from there. Good stuff.” Borash said this about Erik Watts: “Hats off to Erik Watts for a solid performance last Wednesday night. Erik really has shown dedication to his in-ring abilities, and it is beginning to really show.” Borash doesn’t watch TNA closely. That’s all I’ve got to say. Starting this week, TNA is going to have over 25 replays on iNDemand rather than 3. As an iNDemand customer, I can say that this is a small thing, but a small thing that will help them. It gives more of an opportunity for word of mouth to work. If the replays draw more than 40% of the buys of the movies in the slots previously, than it is a success for iNDemand. Borash complained about the PWI 500 for some reason, “Years ago there was controversy over Nova getting left off of the PWI Top 500. This year they’ve done it again, as Cheex was no where to be found. A win on PPV apparently does not constitute placement on this list. That is a shame. A damn shame and a total injustice.” Borash went on to announce the entire lineup of this past Wednesday’s show.
Konnan did a very interesting interview two weeks ago with Alex Marvez of the Wrestling Observer but I didn’t have room for it. You can read it here.
Two in-house issues to clear up. A post was made earlier this week on the newsboard announcing that TNA was close to a deal with TBS. This is patently false. Publicly, both parties have denied this and a contract signed between TBS, Inc. and WWFE, Inc. in 2001 prevents wrestling from airing on TBS, until approximately 2001. The article also said that Sting (Steve Borden) was in negotiations with both TNA and TBS on behalf of TNA due to being on good terms with the company after being a part of several movies. Borden, 44, is not currently negotiating extensively with either parties. Management is sorry for the error. I received a complaint from this comment last week: “(the one-cent show that airs next week is) a smart idea, but it won’t be worth a damn if they don’t give it mainstream advertisements. Mention in an email mailing list and on the broadcast is helpful, but they still aren’t reaching people outside of the company.” I stand by the spirit of what I said, because it’s the truth, TNA has yet to begin a strong promotional campaign that’s going to reach a new audience, but the fact is, they have ads on RAW in several markets (nothing here), but in LA, the market of the reader, they do. I know of a few others as well. I apologize to NWA:TNA and the readers of this column.
I should note that TNA is done with live PPVs for the next two weeks. On the next show, a pre-taped X-Division will air, and it will be reviewed here next week in H&S. All the matches together look to be 65-70 minutes altogether. If you missed the lineup a few weeks ago, the matches will be: Juventud Guerrera vs. Nosawa; Jonny Storm vs. Teddy Hart; Jerry Lynn vs. Chris Sabin; Frankie Kazarian vs. Michael Shane. The matches next week include a return of the Wargames gimmick (only one ring for TNA) with Jeff Jarrett, Chris Harris, James Storm, Raven, and D’Lo Brown against Simon Diamond, Johnny Swinger, Aj Styles, Shane Douglas, and “The Fallen Angel” Christopher Daniels with Erik Watts as the referee and Dusty Rhodes as the keeper of the key. It was surprisingly short. Thank you for reading, please direct your emails to email@example.com.
Matchmaker: Trevor Hunnicutt
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