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(Sept. 17-October 29/2004)

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Dusty Rhodes marched out to "Hail To The Chief," surrounded by babyfaces who endorsed him for DOA. My guess is that no one told the lads "DOA" stood for "Director of Authority" instead of "dead on arrival." Dusty narrowly edged out Shawn Michaels for most ass-kissing interview of the week. Dust introduced 3 Live Kru as the next Tag champs, A.J. Styles as the next XD champ, and Jeff Hardy as the next World champ. Vince Russo came out with Don Harris. Russo said "This might be the last time I speak in front of a wrestling crowd." The fans popped. Russo said that for the past five years, "they’ve" been trying to run him out of the biz because he sticks up for the young guys. Yeah, I’m sure the racist angles, putting the WCW World Title on himself and killing Owen Hart had nothing to do with it. Dusty and Russo had a pull-apart.

Jeff Jarrett arrived backstage and ordered the chauffeur to fetch his ladder. Here’s the thing: Jarrett carried his own bag into the building. Fatal error for your limo-riding heel champ. Did Flair ever carry his own bag on camera? Did HHH?

A straightjacket-clad Raven cut a poem on Monty and Abyss. He concluded with his Raven pose, which I guess was supposed to be him symbolically breaking out of the straightjacket.

1) Monty Brown killed Eric Stevens & Mark Stephens in a handicap match in 51 seconds. Monty pounced ‘em both, then put an Abyss mask on one and a straightjacket on the other. Monty hit a sweet bodyslam lift into a powerbomb on "Abyss," then hit a fallaway slam on "Raven." Monty concluded by cutting a promo on Bryan Cox of "Best Damn Sports Show Period." A disembodied voice narrated an Abyss highlight reel that ran on the big screen. The voice boasted that Abyss had finally found a voice that could articulate his inner rage. Rumored to be Jim Mitchell. (Waldo)

Okay, checking in on the "total nonstop action" clock, we’ve had 51 seconds of wrestling in the first 24 minutes of this week’s show.

2) Chris Sabin won a 6-man XD Gauntlet battle royal to earn the #20 slot for the PPV Gauntlet at 5:13. Sabin and Alex Shelley started the match. The rules are over-the-top eliminations until it comes down to the last two competitors, at which point the match is determined by pinfall or submission. Guys enter every 45 seconds. Sabin owned Shelley until Kazarian (#3) joined the match for a double-heel beatdown. Sonjay Dutt (#4) entered the match and cleaned house on the heels. Dutt gave Kaz a hurracanrana to eliminate him at 2:00. Next in was Michael Shane w/ Traci (#5). Trinity showed up and reiterated her challenge to anyone of any genitalia. She said that she wanted to enter this match, but Russo wouldn’t allow it. She tried to storm the ring, but Heavy D cut her off. They teased Trinity vs. Traci. Now THAT’S a PPV match! Shark Boy (#6) was the final entrant. Dutt missed a springboard missile dropkick, and Shane dispatched him with sweet cover music at 3:49. Shark nailed Shane with a somersault stunner off the second rope (kinda like Mikey Whipwreck’s old "whippersnapper" move), and Sabin clotheslined Shane over the top at 4:12. Shelley backdropped Shark over and out at 4: 44, so it was the old "the two guys who started will be the two guys who finish it" story. Remember HBK-Bulldog at Royal Rumble 95? Fans chanted for Sabin. The lads danced for a minute, ending with Sabin hitting his "cradle shock" finisher for the pin. I dunno, Yogi. Sabin is one of the guys I look forward to watching, so knowing that he won’t be in the PPV match until the ass-end isn’t exactly a selling point for me. This match was sensory overload, as stuff happened way too fast to mark out for any of it. Did it get me fired up for the 20-man version on PPV? Nope. Was it a fun little change of pace if – like me – you’ve never seen an XD Gauntlet before? Eh, kinda. (Mike)

Coach Scott D’Amore & Petey Williams cut a strong promo on Jeff Hardy, building to today’s main event. Jeff Jarrett showed up in the world’s loudest sweater. He backslapped Petey and gave another "global warning" to Hardy. Someone needs to tell him that line so isn’t working.

Speaking of stuff that’s not working, it’s time for last week’s Russo campaign commercial again. It hasn’t gotten any better.

3) Konnan & B.G. James beat The Naturals to earn a Tag Title match on the PPV at 2:01. Konnan got the hot tag at about 90 seconds in and powerbombed Andy Douglas for the pin out of nowhere. Looks like Bob Ryder’s boys are in the doghouse. (Chris)

A nice feature aired hyping the AMW-XXX bout at VR. It will be a last-team-standing match. Do what now?

They then replayed the Scott Hall promo from last week. Tenay and West tried to make sense of it all. They then debuted the Kevin Nash promo. He talked about himself and Hall breaking into the WWF "before the dress code." Nash said that Chief Jay Strongbow said to them, "In this business, you can make friends, or you can make money." Nash concluded, "Jeff, I’ve got your back." This week, the announcers finally picked up on the ambiguous "Jeff" comments. See? People in the know read my Impact reviews!

Roddy Piper came out and addressed the crowd. He made fun of Scott Hall for "gaining 80 lbs." He then called the kettle black. The Hall comment was supposed to be edited out, but it was left in due to a communication snafu. He referred to the Mexican minis as "albino pygmies" and when he was polling ringside fans about the Dusty-Russo vote, he called a black fan, "boy." Oh for God’s sake, they oughtta shitcan him and bring in that skinny kid Jerry Lawler brought out to impersonate him during their feud in 1994. Piper then endorsed Dusty.

Jarrett was now carrying his ladder out to the ring. So what happened to the chauffeur? Dammit, TNA, these questions need answers! You can’t just introduce a character like Jarrett’s chauffeur into our lives, then take him away from us!

Dusty’s campaign ad from last week ran again this week. It will probably run yet again next week. It is very, very weak.

Jarrett came out with the ladder. I don’t care what anyone says, I kinda like his theme music, which is a good thing because I hear it at least twice a week. The King O’ The Mountain grabbed a headset and sat atop his ladder, joining the lads for commentary.

4) Jeff Hardy pinned XD champion Petey Williams (w/ Coach Scott D’Amore) in a non-title match at 5:26. Hardy has the worst theme music of the year, easy. Hardy’s intro this week consisted of him spitting up milk while he posed. It didn’t look like milk, but this is a family column. Orlando fans chanted "Petey." They took a commercial break 30 seconds into the main event. Send the family out of the room for a second. Okay, they seriously need to knock this shit off. Fuckers. All right, I’ll be good now. Jarrett put himself over while Petey carried the train wreck in the ring. Petey got a nearfall by pulling tights on a reverse rollup after D’Amore got involved. Hardy hit the flatliner and went to the top rope, but Jarrett shoved him off. Petey prepared for the Canadian Destroyer, but Styles ran-in and hit the Asai DDT on Petey. Hardy rolled up Petey for the pin. I understand that this match came out of last week’s angle where Hardy swantoned D’Amore, but Petey was the LAST member of Team Canada they should have fed to Hardy, especially since he’s a defending champion going into the PPV. (Mike)

Overall over-analysis: Nine days away from Victory Road and Impact isn’t getting any better. Pushing the title matches is all well and good, though it’s hard to imagine Team Canada vs. 3 Live Kru getting anyone excited. Also, they really need to explain the stipulations for the "Monster’s Ball" and "last-team-standing" matches. As has been the case for months now, Dusty and Russo are taking up way too much time, and it’s sadly ironic that Russo’s "worked shoot" about "sticking up for the little guys" took away valuable face time from said "little guys." With the stakes higher than any other PPV in company history, TNA has one more week to try and get it right.

This Observer’s Thumb…………is down.

Victory Road PPV lineup (11/7/04):

Ladder match for World Title: Jeff Jarrett (w/ Scott Hall) vs. Jeff Hardy (w/ Kevin Nash)

XD Title: Petey Williams vs. A.J. Styles

World Tag Title: Bobby Roode & Eric Young vs. Konnan & B.G. James

20-man #1C XD Gauntlet battle royal w/ Michael Shane, Kazarian, Alex Shelley, Jerelle Clark, Shark Boy, Chad Collyer, Amazing Red, Sonjay Dutt, Mikey Batts, D-Ray 3000, L.A. Park, Psicosis, Hector Garza, Nosawa, Chris Sabin (who will enter at #20) and others

"Monster’s Ball" match: Raven vs. Abyss vs. Monty Brown (Don’t look at me, I don’t know what the hell it means, either)

Last-team-standing match: AMW vs. XXX (Ditto)

Mexican minis match

Roddy Piper to host a mystery guest "In The Pit"



By Harry Simon
The show opened with AMW and XXX brawling with each other backstage as Don Harris, Shark Boy and others tried to keep ‘em separated.

1) World champion Jeff Jarrett stroked Ryan O’ Reilly at 1:33 in a non-title match.  Just as I was about to crack the obvious Irish joke, ROR beat me to it by dancing an Irish jig in the ring.  JJ pitched The Jiggy One into a ladder which was at ringside for some reason.  JJ propped up a ladder in the corner, and whipped ROR into it.  Why wasn’t that a DQ?  Why do I even ask anymore?  Jarrett continued to frost ROR’s Lucky Charms after the bell, prompting Jeff Hardy to do a run-in, whip JJ into the ladder, give him a flatliner, and tease a swanton off the ladder, but JJ bailed. (Waldo)

Next up was a pre-taped promo from Scott Hall.  Christ almighty, has he gone gray.  True, the promo was in black and white (nWo noir), but even so, I stand by my point.  Hall closed by saying “Good luck, Jeff,” as he flicked his ‘pick.  Not sure if he was being sincere or sarcastic, or for that matter, which “Jeff” he meant.  Could be a teaser, could be a clue, could just be an old drunk guy running his mouth.

A “Vote Dusty” promo piece aired.  This is gonna get real old, real fast.

2) Chris Sabin & Sonjay Dutt b Kazarian & Michael Shane (w/ Traci) by JD at 10:00.  This was Dutt’s first match back in a month after suffering a dislocated elbow.  Good timing, as Dutt’s injury occurred just as the Eddie Guerrero DVD ***LINK*** hit the streets, featuring a bit on Eddie having the same injury in his first WWF match.  Fans chanted “Sonjay.”  Not for nothing, but the first TNA feud I saw that I really liked was when Sabin and Kazarian had their “fight for the future” feud over the XD Title last year.  Disappointingly, neither Mike Tenay nor Don West brought up their history together.  Backstage, AMW were arguing with each other.  And now it’s time for a commercial.  Backstage again, XXX have been ejected from the building.  Okay, fuck this shit.  Of late, Impact shows have been something like 60% promos/vignettes, yet when there’s a hot match like this one, they butcher it like it was bringing Nicole Simpson her sunglasses.  Maybe half of this full match aired, and not only is that a slap in the face to the fans, it completely disrespects the athletes who are busting their asses in the ring.  Speaking of which, best highspot in Impact history saw Sabin give Kaz a German superplex off the top (!).  Dutt and Shane danced, leading to the final four-way brawl.  Finish saw Sabin hit his version of the DVD for a two-count when Shane was saved by the bell.  The faces won by judge’s decision.  Damn good match, almost enough to make up for the last two weeks of Impact.  Wish the monkeys who put this show together would have shown it to us in its entirety.  (Kerry)

Dusty threatened Russo with “buckets of (feces).”  I’m not making this up.  Jarrett confronted Dusty.

Piper’s back for this week’s edition of “A Clockwork Pit.”  He talked about the famous Jimmy Snuka angle, which at this point in his career is just kinda sad.  They showed stills of a gorilla when Piper talked about Snuka as a “monkey-looking ape.”  Hey, remember when Bad News Allen was on Wrestling Observer Live and he said Piper was a “racist?”  Well, he was right.

3) Monty Brown killed Eric Stevens at 1:44.  Monty sent a message by using two pounces this week.  As in; one for Raven, one for Abyss.  After the first, he picked Stevens up at two.  His music even started for a second to help get the angle over.  Nice touch.  Stevens, btw, did one of the best dead-on-his-feet sells I’ve ever seen.  After the bell, Monty cut a good, intense promo on Abyss and Raven, who both attacked him after a lights-out bit.  Monty pounced Raven, but fell to Abyss’ rackbreaker (which is what I’m gonna call his torture rack backbreaker until someone comes up with something better).  A pull-apart between the three guys followed.  (Waldo)

4) The New York Connection (Glen Gilberti & Johnny Swinger, w/ Trinity) squashed Scott Papper & El Fuego at 1:50.  Trin joined the announce table and complained about her childhood.  Trin then put out an open challenge to any man or woman.  There wasn’t much heat for this match, but she was REALLY cold.  GG pinned Fuego after their “big apple” finisher (an assisted pedigree).  Trin then further humiliated Fuego by locking him in her patented hold, the cameltoe clutch.  I’m not changing that name even if someone DOES come up with something better.  The AMW-XXX brawl spilled over the rail and into the hexaring after this match.  NYC hit the high road, which was probably not the best way to get over a new heel team making their Impact debut.  Christopher Daniels challenged AMW to a match at the PPV.  (Waldo)

Time for Russo’s campaign commercial.  The voice-over guy mocked Dusty’s “legendary, but ridiculous” bionic elbow.  This is a fun little gimmick, but it isn’t nearly as entertaining as it should be.

5) Jeff Hardy & A.J. Styles & Ron Killings beat Team Canada (Russ Silverstein & World Tag Team champions Bobby Roode & Eric Young, w/ Coach Scott D’Amore) at 6:56.  Silverstein is the newest member of TC while Johnny Devine recovers from getting legit stabbed after leaving a nightclub a couple weeks ago.  Tenay gave Silverstein’s background (Stu Hart’s Dungeon) and said that he takes his name from a famous Canadian wrestler.  They further got Silverstein over by having Hardy pin him clean with the twist-of-fate in his TV debut with his new faction.  Screw it, if these assholes don’t care enough to show their TV main event w/o a commercial blocking out half of it, then I don’t care enough to do a full-blown review.  After the bell, Petey showed up and got into it with A.J.  The rest of 3LK ran-in to even the odds.  Hardy gave D’Amore a swanton off the ladder, but Jeff Jarrett ran-in and kabonged him to close the show.  (Mike)

Overall over-analysis:  On the plus side, VR is starting to take shape with AMW vs. XXX, and Monty vs. Raven vs. Abyss.  However, this show made me feel like I was watching an early Nitro, and that’s not a compliment.  Between the commercials and the AMW-XXX backstory chopping up the matches, this show just plain pissed me off.

This Observer’s Thumb…………is down.

Victory Road PPV lineup (11/7/04):

Ladder match for World Title: Jeff Jarrett (w/ Scott Hall) vs. Jeff Hardy (w/ Kevin Nash)

XD Title: Petey Williams vs. A.J. Styles

20-man #1C XD Gauntlet match w/ Michael Shane, Kazarian, Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley, Jerelle Clark, Shark Boy, Chad Collyer, Amazing Red, Sonjay Dutt,
and others TBA

Raven vs. Abyss vs. Monty Brown


Roddy Piper to host a mystery guest “In The Pit”



1) Jeff Hardy pinned Monty Brown at 9:16 in the tourney final to get the VR title shot against Jarrett.  At first, I wondered why the main event was going on first, but as the show played out, it became obvious that they wanted the Jeff vs. Jeff PPV main event set up ASAP so they could immediately start hyping the hell out of it.  Makes sense.  Crowd chanted “Let’s go Monty” to open things.  Abyss watched from the back, while Raven looked into the camera from the rafters.  Guys, Impact tickets aren’t that expensive.  After two and a half minutes of nothing, they went to a commercial break with Jeremy Borash and Don West shilling for the VR PPV weekend.  Jackholes.  Anyway, after a ref bump, Abyss ran-in and gave Hardy the black hole slam.  Monty pounced Abyss.  Raven then ran-in to give Monty a chairshot and a “Raven effect” DDT.  Hardy gave Monty the twist-of-fate for the pin.  Don’t bother trying to figure out who are supposed to be the heels and faces in this.  That way lies madness.  Not a good match, and the clustershmazz finish didn’t do anyone any favors.  (Chris)

Dusty Rhodes was happy that Hardy won.  Vince Russo confronted Dusty, while Shane Douglas made his trademark worst facials in the biz.  This set up a vote to culminate at the VR PPV where fans will vote on whether they want Dusty and Russo to wear dresses, have a lingerie pillow fight, or beat each other with a steel pipe.  Wait, dammit, I have my notes mixed up.  Okay, now I’ve got it.  TNA fans are going to vote as to whether they want Dusty or Russo as Director Of Authority.  Since Russo has given his notice, three guesses as to how this is going to end up.

A short vignette aired hyping the XD Gauntlet at the PPV.  Shark Boy, Chad Collyer, Amazing Red, and Sonjay Dutt have officially been added to the mix.

2) XD champion Petey Williams (w/ Coach Scott D’Amore) pinned Jason Pocaro at 1:19 in a non-title match.  Nice spot saw Pocaro go for a sunset powerbomb to the outside, but Petey blocked it and legdropped him.  Petey used the Styles clash as a finisher to send a message to A.J.  Petey then put on one of Styles’ vests and mocked “The Phenomenal One’s” poses.  Styles ran-in and wiped out both Petey and D’Amore.  Like Sean would say, good sauce.  (Waldo)

The Petey-Styles match for VR was hyped in a nice vignette.

Another teaser aired for the impending arrival of The New York Connection.  These chicks look pretty tough.

3) 3 Live Kru (Konnan & B.G. James & Ron Killings) squashed Eric Stevens & Syder Nate Webb & John Thadeio in 56 seconds.  Poor Killings.  He deserves so much better than this.  (Waldo)

Jarrett cut a promo and talked about Hardy’s threat to “up the ante.”  Jarrett mockingly asked if it meant they’d have to paint their faces and have a clown match.  Or if they’d have a black light over the ring so their teeth could glow in the dark.  Douglas asked Jarrett about “Outsiders,” namedropping Hogan, Sting, and Austin (as if).  Jarrett finally named Scott Hall & Kevin Nash by name.  Jarrett said Scott Hall would be in his corner, while Nash would be in Hardy’s corner.  Anticlimax much?  I don’t remember any other PPV in history where the heel announced that someone would be in the other guy’s corner.

Jeff Hammond once killed a homeless man just to give himself an erection.  I read that on the internet.

Brian Gamble came out for his squash match against Abyss, but Raven attacked Gamble with a chair and cut a promo on Abyss, Monty, and Hardy.  Raven cut a rhyming promo that was so bad, I expect John Cena to use it shortly.  Before Rave could quote himself, Monty interrupted him.  Abyss followed, and it turned into a three-way shmazz.  Raven whipped Monty into Abyss, who caught him in a black hole slam.  Raven and Abyss then had a pull-apart.  It looks like they’re gonna do a three-way match between the lads at VR.

Up next was a strangely-produced promo from Roddy Piper called “Tales From The Pit.”  Well, he does kinda look like the Crypt Keeper these days, except CK has a healthier fleshtone.  Piper talked about his first Pit, where he berated Frankie Williams for always losing.  Piper called the Pit “the first reality television show.”

The tag title scene was recapped, leading to Championship Committee member Larry Zbyszko joining the announce table for today’s main event.  The prick sarcastically said something about the death of Ray Traylor.  Okay, not really.  But I bet he was thinking it.  The stip was that Team Canada was not allowed to have their heat, as everyone was barred from ringside.

4) Team Canada (Bobby Roode & Eric Young) beat James Storm & Christopher Daniels at 10:50 to win the NWA World Tag Title.  The opening minutes were all the champs, even high-fiving each other after running off the hosers.  During the break, Coach Scott D’Amore tried to come out, but Larry chased him off.  TC isolated Daniels for the body of the match until Storm finally got the hot tag.  A four-way brawl broke loose, with nearfalls aplenty.  Daniels overshot the BME (which the announcers called).  Storm picked up Roode for his Kryptonite Krunch knockoff, but Young shoved Daniels into Storm.  Roode rolled through into a schoolboy.  Um, I think that was supposed to be the finish.  After that was one of those awkward moments where all the guys looked at each other as if to ask “What now?”  So out of nowhere, Young small-packaged Daniels for the pin.  Daniels and Storm argued as D’Amore and Petey came out to celebrate with their teammates.  TC now controls two thirds of the TNA gold.  Not a good match, and the botched finish added insult to attention-span-injury.  (Mike)

The show closed with the payoff to the “up the ante” stuff as Hardy challenged Jarrett to a ladder match by standing on a ladder and doing that annoying dance of his.  Douglas and Tenay marked out to close the show.

Overall over-analysis:  Hoooooooo boy.  I was afraid of this.  Last week, I said it was a mistake not to give Raven the Jarrett match on PPV.  On the great scale of mistakes, if TNA not putting over Raven was a train wreck, then TNA putting over Hardy is a full-blown nuclear power plant meltdown.

They’re right that neither Monty nor Abyss means a hill o’ beans to the casual fan right now, but Hardy is such a question mark in the reliability department that I would think it supercedes any positives he brings to the table.  Plus, he didn’t exactly knock anyone’s socks off with last week’s match against Abyss, or this week’s match against Monty.  Lately, the “Charismatic Enigma” has been 99% “enigma” and 1% “charismatic”.  Not only do they have to worry about him showing up in (ahem) no condition to perform, but they have to worry about him showing up at all.  Words can’t express what a bad idea it is to hang your hopes on Hardy for a spot this important.  Did anybody learn anything from the death of WCW?  Depending how bad Hardy screws the pooch on TNA’s first three-hour PPV, there may not be a second one.

Anyway, the Petey-Styles stuff was the best (and only good) thing about this show.  Considering that we’re three weeks away from the PPV, it’s nut-cutting time (to swipe a JRism).  Today’s show ended with a discouraging amount of nuts left uncut.

This Observer’s Thumb…………is down.

Victory Road PPV lineup (11/7/04):

Ladder match for World Title: Jeff Jarrett (w/ Scott Hall) vs. Jeff Hardy (w/ Kevin Nash)

XD Title: Petey Williams vs. A.J. Styles

20-man #1C XD Gauntlet match w/ Michael Shane, Kazarian, Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley, Jerelle Clark, Shark Boy, Chad Collyer, Amazing Red, Sonjay Dutt, and others TBA

Raven vs. Abyss vs. Monty Brown (?)



1) Jeff Hardy pinned Abyss at 7:59 to advance in the #1C tournament.  Oh, no.  No no no no no no.  Hardy came out with his t-shirt tucked in the back of his tights.  It’s the shirt that has him doing a pose with a bunch of circles behind him.  But by wearing it thusly, it looked like he put A BULLSEYE RIGHT OVER HIS ASS.  That is wrong on so many levels, we’d need more bandwidth to fully chronicle the sheer immensity of its wrongitude.  Anyway, tourney matches have 15-minute time limits, instead of the usual 10:00 allotted for non-title matches on Impact.  Predictable storyline of the babyface vs. the monster.  Hardy threw the worst looking punches this business has seen since the heyday of limp-wristed Lex Luger.  Then, in the dumbest spot I’ve seen all year, Hardy ordered the ref on all fours so Hardy could hit the poetry in motion on ‘Byss.  No one seemed to have a problem with the ref helping one of the competitors.  Jeff using the ref wasn’t a bad idea, but for fuck’s sake, they could have taken five seconds to come up with a more creative way of getting the ref down than just having Hardy order the ref to help him…AND THE FUCKING REF OBEYS HIM!!  Anyway, a commercial break aired, first with Jeremy Borash and Don West shilling for the “Total Nonstop Interaction” weekend of the VR PPV, then a hokey promo piece introducing TNA’s new slogan “Six Appeal” (as in, the six-sided ring).  I would question them placing such things in the middle of an important match.  I would then curse at them and suggest that their mothers perform oral favors on strangers to buy crack.  Abyss was still muscling Hardy all over the ring as fans chanted “black hole slam.”  ‘Byss brought his chain in the ring, but Hardy (who apparently forgot how to sell moves during his latest trip) ran around Abyss and hog-tied him with his own chain to trip him up.  Just like that classic scene in Star Wars when the X-Wing toppled the Walker!  ‘Byss turned a twist of fate attempt into the torture rack slam for a nearfall.  Hardy hit the TOF, but missed the swanton.  Abyss lifted Hardy up for a chokeslam, but Hardy victory-rolled him for the pin.  Abyss did what he could, but Hardy was just plain hopeless.  As of this stinker, the guy is officially a has-been.  (Chris)

Larry Z faced off with Team Canada.  Coach Scott D’Amore wants a tag title shot for his men.

Empire Saint is still coming.  Hey, you know what we need?  Another brooding goth gimmick.  That’s the answer!

NWA World Tag champs James Storm & Christopher Daniels came out for a match, but Team C attacked them.  Chris Harris tried to make the save, but got a beatdown.  Primetime ran-in and suffered a similar fate.  Finally, 3 Live Kru ran off the hosers.

Time for an encore of that nice history feature on NWA TNA.  Aw, just go read this week’s 
www.wrestlecrap.com  update already.

Screw Jeff Hammond.  Moving right along…

2) A.J. Styles pinned Roderick Strong at 4:21.  The announcers put over A.J. as the best “improv” wrestler around.  Nice back-and-forth with Strong hitting a nice double-arm facebuster followed by a SICK half-nelson into a backbreaker.  This is why Styles matches are better than Jarrett matches; A.J. gives the other guy his spots.  A.J. made his fast-paced comeback, but Strong pitched him off of an attempted Styles clash.  A.J. hit an awesome leap from outside into the Asai DDT for the pin.  Very nice indeed.  (David)

Roddy Piper made his Impact debut and addressed the crowd.  Standing O and a big “Piper” chant for Hot Rod, who seemed touched.  Well, we all know that he’s touched, but he was appreciative of the reaction.  Piper said Big Bossman saved his life and proceeded to namedrop everyone from Andre The Giant to Evander Holyfield to Cyndi Lauper to Hulk Hogan (twice).  He then quoted the Martin Luther King catchphrase.  I am SO doing a “Behind The Pyro” on this guy at some point.  Piper said he invented “In the Pit with Piper.”  I guess Vince owns “Piper’s Pit” or something.  Then again, Piper is insane, so who the hell knows?  Fans chanted, “You’re a legend” at Piper.  Piper vowed that he would have a special guest in the Pit at VR.  Lemme get this straight: His big announcement is a surprise that he isn’t going to announce just yet?  Gee, thanks for nothing, you a-holes.

AMW argued with XXX.  Harris yelled that if the four of them didn’t start acting like a unit, Team C would keep on owning them.  Daniels and Storm shook hands and vowed to give Team C a title shot.  Convoluted as a lesbian orgy in a fish market, but it does add some much-needed intrigue and interest to the tag division.  Compare that to the current bare-bones approach in WWE’s tag team division, where three of the four current tag champs are La Resistance guys.

The King O’ The Mountain held court with Douglas.  Jarrett pointed out that his four gentlemen callers were killing each other to get a piece of him.  The Outsiders seem to be playing Jarrett against Russo.  Well, that’s their worked storyline, but…

3) Monty Brown pounced Raven at 10:43 to advance in the #1C tournament, meaning next week is Monty vs. Hardy in the finals, with the winner challenging Jarrett at VR.  Raven came out in a straightjacket.  Both matches had a similar script, but this was tons better than Hardy-Abyss thanks to Rave bumping around like a blind man in a warehouse.  This also had the baffling interruption of the Borash/West shill.  Raven took over on Monty by – get this – outwrestling the guy.  Tenay made a big deal out of the fact that this was the most time Monty had ever spent on the defensive.  Raven had introduced a chair into the ring, and like last week, the ref tellingly gave away the game by leaving it in the ring.  Finish saw Raven pick up said chair, leading to Monty avalanching chair, Rave, and ref in the corner for a ref bump.  Raven hit the drop-toehold into the chair (which they bungled) for a nearfall.  Raven missed a swing with the chair, setting up the pounce.  Both Jeffs came out to stare down Monty.  (Mike)

Overall over-analysis: I’ll go on record now.  It was a mistake not to put Raven over as Jarrett’s PPV challenger.  TNA’s thinking is that while they’re high on their home-grown Monty & Abyss, Hardy has the most name value.  When it comes to active talent, Raven is easily one of the three biggest stars on the roster (the Jeffs being the other two).  Jarrett vs. Raven would be the safest choice for the main event of their first PPV for many reasons, including the fact that Raven was the defending champ in the main event of the first ECW PPV (Barely Legal, 4//97), while Jarrett won the WWAS Hvt Title in the main event of their inaugural PPV (//02).  That’s the kind of experience that is crucial to an endeavor like Victory Road.  On the other hand, Monty is still largely unknown to the unwashed masses, while Hardy never even main-evented a PPV for the WWWFE (Royal Rumbles don’t count).  Oh yeah, and there IS a TNA history between Jarrett and Raven.  What was universally regarded as TNA’s best-built Wednesday PPV was when Rave challenged JJ, obsessed with his “destiny” of winning the gold.  It looked like they were going to do a money chase, but Raven never got a rematch.  I’ll talk about this more when the VR main event is officially locked in next week.

As for today’s show as a whole, it missed the mark.  Styles-Strong was the only bright spot.  Neither tournament match has me interested in who faces Jarrett at VR.

This Observer’s Thumb…………is down.

Victory Road PPV lineup (11/7/04):

World Title: Jeff Jarrett vs. winner of Jeff Hardy vs. Monty Brown

XD Title: Petey Williams vs. A.J. Styles

20-man #1C XD Gauntlet match w/ Michael Shane, Kazarian, Chris Sabin, Alex Shelley, Jerelle Clark, and others TBA (probably Kid Kash, Amazing Red, Sonjay Dutt, Mikey Batts, etc.)


This week started the, um, road to Victory Road as #1C guidelines were established and the location of the PPV was officially announced.

1) NWA World champion Jeff Jarrett squashed Brian Gamble at 2:01.  No Elite Guard?  What happened to them?  How am I supposed to review a JJ match under these conditions?  I could just phone it in, ya know.  JJ attacks the guy before the bell, beats him up outside the ring, then hits the stroke for the pin.  But I refuse to do so, because my work ethic is stronger than that.  Now then, this match saw JJ attack the guy before the bell, beat him up outside the ring, then hit the stroke for the pin.  (Waldo)

After the match, Jarrett conducted a sit-down strike on the announcer’s table until someone told him who he was facing at VR.

Time for that great “past-to-present” feature.  Seriously, you guys need to TiVo an episode of Impact just to check out this thing.  It’s that good.

Russo (who is allegedly leaving TNA for good soon) came out to confront Jarrett.  Some ringside fans greeted Russo with a chant of “You killed Nitro.”  Orlando fans, YOU FUCKING RULE.  Russo called JJ “childish” and said that he spoke to the same “Outsiders” JJ spoke to, and in his opinion, the real talent was “right here in TNA.”  Russo announced a #1C tournament with Abyss, Monty Brown, Jeff Hardy, and Raven.  The winner gets Jarrett at the PPV.  JJ vowed to bring some “Outsiders” to VR.

Jarrett left the ring, but A.J. Styles came out to confront Russo.  Styles wants a crack at the XD Title.  Russo said “This time you’ll have to earn it,” and told Styles that he’ll be part of a “six-man match” later in the show, with the winner getting the XD Title shot at VR.  Apparently, Russo’s legendary ignorance includes the fact that he doesn’t realize that a “six-man match” is different from a “six-way match.”

Since Russo was handing out title shots, Team Canada (Bobby Roode & Eric Young, w/ Coach Scott D’Amore) came out and demanded – ah, you know.  Russo called D’Amore “Humpty Dumpty” (no one laughed) and said that he, too, would have to earn it.  D’Amore suggested a #1C match with TC against Russo & Styles.  D’Amore bitched out Russo and Styles, so Styles speared the Coach.  Styles held his own against TC until Petey Williams did a run-in.  D’Amore seductively held Russo in a corner.  Feh, Heidenreich and Michael Cole did it better.  3 Live Kru made the save.

I can appreciate that everything revolved around title matches on the PPV, but I’m just not a fan of these “open mic night” angles.  Russo wants to be the “Mr. McMahon” character so bad, his hair gel is burning.

A feature on Styles aired next.  Nice.

Back from commercial, it’s time for Raven’s feature.  This was also nice.

2) Raven killed Mark Stephens in 58 seconds.  Raven had the words “DIE MONTY BROWN” painted on his chest, and finished Stephens off with the “Raven effect” DDT.  I’d just like to point out that we’re almost halfway through the show at this point, and we’ve had less than three minutes of wrestling.  “Total Nonstop Action,” my ass.  (Waldo)

Shane Douglas was diligently waiting outside the “Directory Of Authority” door.  There was a meeting taking place where I guess everyone was complaining about Dusty Rhodes.  Hey, can I get me some of that action?  A furious Larry Z came out and complained about Dusty Rhodes.

Now here’s a feature on Monty.  Decent, but not nearly as nice as the previous two.

WTF?  A downright bizarre Jeff Hardy music video was next.  It was so bad, I’m surprised it isn’t already in heavy rotation on MTV.  Ah well, the nice features were fun while they lasted.

3) Abyss killed Luther Jackson at 1:22.  They keep calling him “The Monster Abyss,” but personally I think they should call him “The Nightmare Abyss,” so they could naturally segue into the TNA initials.  But no one listens to me.  Jackson’s menacing manboobs were no match for ‘Byss, who squashed him with the torture rack drop and the BH slam.  (Waldo)

Douglas grabbed a world with Harley Race.  Race unfavorably compared talking to Dusty and Russo like banging your head against a brick wall.  He then went home and beat his wife in frustration, according to my sources.

A vignette aired to hype the return of The New York Connection (Glen Gilberti, Johnny Swinger, & Trinity).  Technically, how can it be a “return” if they’ve never appeared on Impact before?

4) The Naturals beat NWA World Tag champions James Storm & Christopher Daniels in a non-title match at 3:35.  Andy Douglas sported a taped-up leg, who was legit stabbed during a legit fight in Nashville.  The “mix-n-match tag champ” angle flourished here, with the storyline being that unlike Harris & PT, Storm & Daniels were “professional” enough to work together and try to make a go of it.  Plus, as West astutely pointed out (!), “They both hate The Naturals!”  Daniels planted Chase Stevens with the uranage slam and went for the BME, but Storm had picked up Stevens for the “Kryptonite Krunch” move he swiped from Nova.  Daniels, oblivious to this, launched a BME anyway and did the crash-and-burn.  Clever bit, sure, but it totally exposes the moonsault.  Douglas tripped Storm from outside the ring, and Stevens schoolboyed Daniels for the pin.  Harris and PT hit the ring and all four argued with each other.  Both the Nats and Team C enjoyed the festivities.  Good match, good angle, playing to the gimmicks of all involved.  (David)

Douglas talked to Dusty.  Dusty said they had a failure to communicate, then ironically yelled at the door.  Dusty said he had his own agenda, probably involving a large stack of pancakes.

A teaser aired for “Empire Saint.”  What the hell kind of name is that?  Is this gimmick going to be a guy who started a religion based on a Queensryche CD or something?  He hasn’t even debuted yet and I already want him repackaged.

Mike Tenay addressed the crowd from the ring.  MONSTER pop for the announcement that the VR PPV would emanate from Orlando, FL.  Tenay said that next week on Impact, Roddy Piper would drop by with an announcement concerning VR.  Please God, book that long-awaited grudge match with Piper vs. Jonny Fairplay.  Tenay, by the way, is awesome as both the voice of TNA and a respectable authority figure for these type of proclamations.  Funny how he just naturally commands more authority than all the committee members of “Director Of Authority” gimmicks the company has had.

5) A.J. Styles won a six-way XD match over Kid Kash, Amazing Red, Kazarian, Alex Shelley, and Chris Sabin to earn a title shot on the VR PPV at 8:34.  Where the hell was Michael Shane?  He and Kaz were the last XD titleholders before current champ Petey Williams won the Gauntlet For The Gold.  Where the hell was Traci?  I just like looking at her.  Shelley was the most improved wrestler of the week just for coming out without Fuglylocks (who is history).  Guys, I’m not trying to tell you how to do your business, but when it’s a six-way match and only one guy gets a pyro entrance, it’s pretty obvious who’s going over.  This had sudden-death rules, which the announcers were all over, explaining that guys were more likely to tag themselves in than tag out.  Good on ya, guys.  Shelley out-heeled Kaz on a spot, which brought a smile to my face.  The heels took over on Red but couldn’t put him away.  Red made his comeback with a nice standing shooting star press on Shelley.  Red hit a diamond cutter and an Infrared on Shelley, so all the guys ran-in to break it up.  Kaz broke up Sabin’s pin on Kash.  Red broke up Styles’ pin on Kaz.  Kash frog-splashed Kaz, but Red hit Kash with an enziguiri.  Up next was the lucha-style “shooting gallery” spot outside the ring, leaving Styles vs. Shelley in the ring.  Shelley stuck Styles with a SWEET DDT for a nearfall.  In a move that has to be seen to be believed, Styles gave Shelley a hurracanrana, then rolled-through on the move and turned it into a Styles clash for the pin.  Good match with an awesome finishing sequence.  (Kerry)

Oh hell.  Now we’re back to the soundbites.  Dusty babbled.  Raven thinks the ring is a “TerrorDome.”  Monty thinks it’s the Serengeti.  Jarrett thinks it’s a mountain.  Christ, this is getting embarrassing.  What’s the first thing most guys learn in wrestling school?  I would assume it’s the fact that the ring is a place with ropes where matches take place.

Overall over-analysis: Hey, notice how they spotlighted all the players in the World Title picture except Jeff Hardy?  Well, that’s cuz the “Charismatic Enigma” no-showed the tapings.  Dave Meltzer put it best when he said, “There was a reason the WWE let (Hardy) go.”  That said, this show did a good job of building to the title matches at VR and the main event was a keeper.

This Observer’s Thumb…………is up.


Okay, the hurricane is gone.  Now the only thing blowing in Orlando is the Russo-Dusty feud.  This week’s show opened with the feature that closed us out last week.  It still rules.

The pyro hadn’t even finished popping when Larry Zbyszko confronted AMW and XXX at ringside.  The teams wanted to wrestle each other to determine the undisputed tag champs.  Larry fired off the ironic line of the year, saying “This is pro wrestling!  It is not a democracy!”  That probably wasn’t a shot at Taboo Tuesday, but I choose to believe it was.  Larry booked Harris & PT vs. Storm & Daniels for the straps.

1) XD champion Petey Williams (w/ Team Canada) pinned Jerelle Clark in a non-title match at 7:07.  Both guys get better by the week.  This is TNA at its best: Two up-and-comers coming into their own.  Announcers Mike Tenay and Don West rightly put the lads over as possessing two of the most spectacular finishers in the biz (Petey’s “Canadian destroyer” piledriver and Clark’s “630” splash).  Coach Scott D’Amore tripped Clark to give Petey the advantage.  Petey stayed in control until Clark made a brief comeback, including an innovative slide into a pump-handle fallaway slam.  Team C distracted Clark, allowing Petey to hit a Russian legsweep and finish Clark off with the Canadian destroyer.  Good opener.  (David)

Next up was a nice feature on A.J. Styles.  With the acquisition of that Sahidi guy who produced some of the WWF’s classic video features, TNA scored a major victory in improving their product.

2) Konnan & Ron Killings squashed Mike Hannigan & Marcus Dillon at 2:36.  3LK’s music hit while the jobbers were still walking down the ramp.  Christ, they even let Nikolai Volkoff actually get to the ring and grab the mic before interrupting him.  In the immortal words of Junior Soprano, “Fuckin’ manners!”  Konnan’s still speakin’ on dis.  By “dis,” I mean “Living in 1998.”  Nothing noteworthy here.  Killings finished off Dillon with his version of the pedigree, called the “lie detector.”  The irony of that rules all ass.  (Waldo)

Next was a feature on Jeff Hardy.  A little on the psychedelic side for my tastes.

Jeff Jarrett came out for an in-ring interview.  JJ said he’d take on anyone, including “an Outsider” (which he punctuated by flipping a toothpick at the camera).  Anyway, the key to this angle was that Jarrett rattled off all the top names except Monty Brown, who interrupted JJ to point that fact out to him.  Monty was actually pretty funny as he mocked Raven, Hardy, and “that constipated Abyss.”  Jarrett cut off Monty just as Monty was about to scream the word “pounce.”  Just for that, I take back everything bad I’ve ever said about JJ overpushing the hell out of himself.  Jarrett corrected Monty by saying the TNA ring wasn’t the Serengeti, but rather, it was a mountain.  It sounded like a couple of mental patients arguing over a Rorschach test.  Actually, that would be a better premise for a feud than half the crap they’ve tried.  “I was the Sheik’s favorite student!”  “I’m a lummox who stays with an ugly manager who slaps me.”  JJ slapped Monty, leading to a pullapart.  Dusty came out to watch.  I presume that since there was a toothpick involved, Dusty reasoned that there was food around there somewhere.

Back from commercial, Dusty realized that there was no food to be found, so he led the crowd in revolt, chanting “Hardy,” or maybe “Hardee’s.”  I couldn’t tell.  Larry Z yelled at Dusty for hijacking the show.  Someone should really tell Larry that Impact is a pre-recorded show, and thus could be edited out to make it Dustyless.  Someone should tell the producers that, too.

Next up was a look at Abyss.  I dunno, between Mankind’s head and Hercules’ chain, this guy just looks like someone fired up the “create-a-wrestler” feature on a wrestling video game and hit “random.”

3) Abyss killed Frankie Capone in 53 seconds with the black hole slam.  That’s pretty much a blow-by-blow recap of the entire match.  (Waldo)

Next was a piece that reviewed the events that led to Harris & PT winning the NWA World Tag Title.  I dunno, I can appreciate them adding intrigue to the tag title picture, but it’s a little goofy when they do the “They’re the new champs, but what happens now?” stuff.  Like it never dawned on anyone that there was a possibility that a tag team could win the tag title even though they competed in a tag title match.  Think about it for a second.

4) James Storm & Christopher Daniels beat Chris Harris & Primetime to win the NWA World Tag Title at 10:14.  AMW came out together, as did XXX.  The two regular teams stood together during instructions, too.  Nice touch, and the announcers put it over well.  The early minutes featured Harris vs. Daniels, and Storm vs. PT, with the guys reluctant to wrestle their regular partners.  You know, this would be a lot easier to follow if AMW didn’t look so goddamn alike.  One of ‘em needs a haircut or a beard or something.  Anything.  Creative spot saw Storm get tagged in against Harris, so “Cowboy” shoved “Wildcat” into PT, effectively tagging in young Elix.  Storm accidentally shoved Harris to start teasing dissension between AMW.  As funny as it is to write about someone “accidentally” shoving their opponent, they made it work.  Harris drilled Daniels with the “Catatonic” slam as PT brought in a chair to use against Storm.  Harris yanked the chair away, so PT shoved him.  The ref kinda sorta blew the finish by cluelessly standing over the chair in the ring for several minutes (as opposed to getting rid of it, as he “should” have done).  Harris clotheslined PT, allowing Daniels to hit a uranage-style slam and the BME (best moonsault ever) for a nice nearfall.  Daniels knocked Harris into the guardrail, so the ref left the ring to check on Harris.  Daniels picked up the chair, and seemed to be measuring PT.  PT spun around and grilled Daniels on his intentions.  XXX argued, allowing Storm to superkick PT for the pin.  Everyone acted confused and angry at each other.  As swerves go, this one was a little bit predictable, but still, it came off well and was what this storyline needed when it needed it.  Good match, too.  (David)

Closing us out this week was that well-produced feature running down the history of NWA TNA.  Good as it was, though, it can’t measure up to this week’s update over at
www.wrestlecrap.com for obvious reasons.

Overall over-analysis: Good sauce (TM Sean Carless.  All rights reserved.  Seriously, don’t fuck with him.  He once killed a homeless man just to give himself an erection).  Anyway, today’s show largely built around the tag title match, and it delivered.  Good opener, too, plus the Jarrett-Monty was a nice little guilty pleasure.

This Observer’s Thumb…………is up.


This week’s tapings were thrown for a loop by the hurricane (not Shane Helms), so it’s a collection of old matches and dark matches from previous Impact/Xplosion tapings.

Kicking things off this week was a well-produced feature running down the history of NWA TNA, from the first PPV to the here and now, leading us to Victory Road.

1) Team Canada (Petey Williams & Bobby Roode & Eric Young w/ Coach Scott D’Amore) b Team Mexico (Abismo Negro & Mr. Aguila & Heavy Metal) at 5:36.  Roode pinned Metal with a nice Death Valley driver after D’Amore tripped Metal off the top rope.  Decent enough, but nothing special.  (David)

Next was a feature on the shmazzapalooza that is the current Tag Title picture.  AXMXWX hold the straps, with Team Canada and The Naturals gunning for the gold.

2) Kid Kash & Dallas b Chris Sabin & Amazing Red at 6:50.  I demand you head over to www.bbrownvideo.com immediately and pick up the Kid Kash shoot interview.  It’s too awesome for words.  Kash unloads on the whole freakin’ industry, including his current employer.  One of the funnier bits happened when Kash was asked about his tag partner (Kash & D were NWA Tag champs when this was filmed).  Kash didn’t know his partner’s name at first.  Kash started the match with Red, who is the only TNA talent he likes.  They took a commercial break 57 seconds into the match.  The hell?  Anyway, Kash is the man.  He jumped from the second rope to the top to hit a nice bounce-turn moonsault on Sabin.  Dallas tagged in and I stopped caring.  Sabin hit his tornado DDT that looks way too convoluted to be believable.  All four hit the ring to start the journey home.  Kash blindsided Red, Dallas hit the big boot, and Kash hit a sweet frog splash for the pin.  Good stuff.  (David)

Next up was, I presume, a tribute to Missy Hyatt, as a feature aired that consisted of Monty Brown pouncing every guy in the locker room.

Next was a feature that started as a look at the World Title picture, but took a detour into a recap of the Russo-Dusty soap opera.  It boomeranged back to Jarrett, who taunted Russo by threatening to bring in some “Outsiders.”

3) NWA World champion Jeff Jarrett (w/ The Elite Guard) squashed Lex Lovett in a non-title match at 2:45.  (Waldo)

That commercial for Victory Road rules.

4) A.J. Styles pinned Alex Shelley (w/ Fuglylocks) at 6:33.  Times like this, I wish Bobby Heenan was still doing color commentary, just so he could say, “Hey Tenay, you know who’s gonna win this match?  The guy with the initials ‘A.S.’”  Fuglylocks sucks.  The camera caught her smiling when A.J. was dropkicking the bejeezus out of her man.  Then she saw the camera and made her “angry” facial.  F her.  Fug then tripped A.J., putting Shelley on the offensive for a bit.  A.J. hit his Asai DDT, but Shelley recovered (way too quickly, I might add) and hit a nice swinging fisherman’s buster.  The lads danced for a bit, ending with A.J. rolling up Shelley with a modified schoolboy for the pin.  Good in spots, but overall choppy and disappointing.  BTW, now that this match is over, kiss Fug goodbye.  She’s done with the company as of their final Wednesday PPV, during which she was a total pain in the ass.  (Mike)

This week’s closing segment was a feature advertising TNA as “the new face of wrestling” (their latest catchphrase).  It put over all the top guys and did a fine job in doing so.

Overall over-analysis: Not half-bad, especially considering the circumstances.

This Observer’s Thumb…………is slightly up.


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November 2006


by Sean Carless

With Christmas just around the corner, what better way to spend your few remaining dollars (left over after the seemingly infinite line-up of fucking pay-per-views ) then on the following "quality WWE merchandise!" After all, if they don't move this stuff, and fast, stockholders just might get time to figure out what "plummeting domestic buyrates" means!... and well, I don't think they need to tell you what that means! (Seriously. They're not telling you. Everything is fine! Ahem.).