Starting last week TNA began a weekly livestream where they plan to air each and every Nashville era PPV in order live on YouTube (and then subsequently make them available on demand). However there’s an awful lot of muck to sift through on those old shows. So I figured I’d help you out each week by reviewing the show before it is made available, giving you an idea of what you may want to watch.
TNA Weekly PPV #2
Von Braun Centre
June 26, 2002
Jeff Jarrett vs. Scott Hall w/ Toby Keith and Jackie Fargo
Jarrett was of course the focal point for the vast majority of the NWATNA era. Toby Keith was (and I assume still is) a country music superstar by all accounts. Jarrett had an altercation with Keith on the first PPV resulting in Keith eliminating Jarrett from the World title Battle Royal main event. All that led to this match. Jarrett hit an arm drag and was extremely proud of himself. He also berated Toby Keith. Hall, not long removed from his WrestleMania 18 match with Steve Austin, was moving really well here. It was kind of weird because they pretty much worked a speed vs. power match which is a strange approach to see Jarrett take.
Jarrett locked on a sleeper, which prompted Don West to suggest Jarrett should wrestle him. I loved Don on these early shows. He was so earnest and enthusiastic that his inexperience didn’t really matter. Hall reversed into a sleeper of his own but Jarrett countered into a back drop. Hall and Jarrett both throw really good punches. Hall made a comeback and went for the Razors Edge but Ron Killings ran to ringside. Brian Christopher came out to run Killings off after Fargo got a punch in. Toby Keith low blowed Jarrett and helped Hall slam him for the win. For some reason all this interference wasn’t worthy of a DQ. Rules were rather loosely applied back in the Weekly PPV era. Prior to the interference kicking in this was a crisp, entertaining match. It’s interesting to look back at how solid Hall still was even in 2002. **1/2
Cheex vs. Frank Parker
Cheex famously broke the ring in a dark match prior to this show (TNA taped the first two PPV’s back to back) causing TNA to scramble and rearrange the show on the fly as the Harris Brothers scampered to fix the ring. Cheex was a large man. Interestingly some of Cheex’ music was reused for D’Angelo Dinero. Parker attempted to take Cheex off his feet and failed spectacularly. Cheex squashed Parker both literally and figuratively to pick up the win. This was terrible. DUD
Brian Christopher w/ Sterling Marlin and Hermie Sadler vs. Ron Killings
There were weird racial undertones behind this match with Christopher talking about “your kind” and “my kind”. Ed Ferrara and Don West debated whether Brian Christopher was a “hot dog” on commentary and I have no idea what a hot dog is (other than that it is most certainly not a sandwich). Christopher was in full Too Cool regalia. Killings jumped Christopher before the bell but it didn’t do much for him as Christopher quickly turned things around. Killings took control again with a suplex. Christopher made a comeback punctuated by an enziguri. He then followed with a Stunner and a Steve Austin impression for some reason. Sadler and Marlin crotched Killings, Christopher put the goggles on (!) and hit the Hip Hop Drop for the win. This was fine but like the opener it was centred more on the celebrity involvement than anything else. It’s interesting that somebody like Brian Christopher was a featured act on the first few shows. **
Lingerie Battle Royal
Tyler vs. Francine vs. Joni vs. Shannon (Daffney) vs. Alexis Laree (Mickie James) vs. Taylor Vaughan vs. Erin vs. Elektra
The winner was the last person in the match to remain clothed. Yeah… That person wins a contract. The crowd chanted “We Want Puppies”. Ed Ferrara was having a pervy field day on commentary. The less I dwell on this the better. It was woeful and multiple levels. Taylor Vaughan won. DUD
Apolo vs. David Young w/ Bobcat
Bobcat spent much of the match sexually teasing Jeremy Borash. TNA’s early portrayal of women was terrible. Young hit a Spinebuster but was distracted by Bobcat’s antics. He missed a moonsault and Apolo hit a superkick and a TKO for the win. There was nothing much going on here. It’s interesting that both these guys never really advanced in another two years in the company. Apolo was always a big guy who could move that they wanted to push but it never really worked out and Young was always a solid wrestler perennially cast in the comedy wrestler role. *
The Rainbow Express (Lenny and Bruce) w/ Joel Gertner vs. The Dupps (Bo and Stan Dupp)
Gertner cut a surprisingly tasteful promo about how Lenny and Bruce were gay and people should just accept that, which was of course immediately undone by the Dupps refusing to wrestler any of those “alternative lifestyle” fellows. I’m pretty sure the bigoted Dupps refusing to wrestle a team because they were gay were meant to be babyfaces. I’m also pretty sure Gertner’s promo about how people shouldn’t carry prejudice against gay people was meant to get heat. Bill Behrens backstage scrambled to find another team, randomly asking Chris Harris and James Storm to face The Rainbow Express.
The Rainbow Express (Lenny and Bruce) w/ Joel Gertner vs. Chris Harris and James Storm
Harris and Storm were singles wrestlers pitched as rivals at this stage. Lenny and Bruce got the heat Storm before he made the tag to Chris Harris. Lenny and Bruce inadvertently collided and Harris rolled up Lenny for the win. And thus America’s Most Wanted was born. *1/2
Ricky Steamboat was in the ring and introduced NWA World Heavyweight champion Ken Shamrock. Shamrock trumped his triumph before being interrupted by James Mitchell. Mitchell referred to the crowd as “crackers”. Mitchell said he was on a mission from god and dared Shamrock to put his title on the line against one of his disciples. Malice jumped Shamrock from behind and hit a chokeslam. Malice vs. Shamrock for the title was made for the next show.
TNA X-Division Championship – Double Elimination Match
AJ Styles vs. Low Ki vs. Jerry Lynn vs. Psicosis
Before the match, Mike Tenay threw out the “It’s not about weight limits, it’s about no limits!” line for the first time. The Double Elimination match was a neat idea and one TNA didn’t go back to. The match was wrestle as a series of singles matches, when one person was eliminated another came in and you had to be eliminated twice. There were also no rest periods. Psicosis hit a top rope leg drop for two but Styles soon followed with the Styles Clash for the win. Low Ki was in next. AJ did his neat nip up hurricanrana. Low Ki locked on the Dragon Sleeper but Styles reached the ropes. Low Ki missed a Phoenix Splash and Styles put him away soon after. Jerry Lynn was in next and immediately hit the Cradle Piledriver to pin Styles.
Psicosis was back in. They had a fun exchange before Lynn hit a facebuster for two. Psicosis dumped Lynn out to the floor and followed with a tope. Lynn missed a dropkick but Lynn dropkicked Psicosis out of thin air and followed with the Cradle Piledriver to eliminated Psicosis for two. Low Ki was back in next. Low Ki went for a top rope hurricanrana but Lynn rolled through for two. Lynn went for the Cradle Piledriver but Low Ki reversed into an armbar. Lynn then lifted Low Ki for a one armed Powerbomb for a very close nearfall. Lynn countered the Ki Krusher into a DDT and followed with the Cradle Piledriver to eliminate Low Ki.
Styles now needed to beat Lynn twice in a row to win. Styles tried a number of times to put Lynn away but couldn’t. Lynn hit big running powerbomb but Styles kicked out. Styles finally hit the Styles Clash and Lynn ate his first fall. The winner of the next fall became the first ever X-Division champion. Ricky Steamboat was the referee. They had a series of quick nearfalls and escapes. The match spilled out to the floor and Lynn whipped Styles into the apron but Styles countered into his moonsault reverse DDT. Styles went for the reverse DDT again but Lynn reversed, dumped Styles on the top rope and connected with a draping DDT for a close nearfall. Lynn turned a powerbomb into a facebuster for the closest nearfall yet. Jerry Lynn hit a Brainbuster but still couldn’t put Styles away. Styles went up top but Lynn cut him off and hit a huge superplex for two. Lynn placed Styles up top but Styles pushed him off and followed with the Spiral Tap to finally pick up the win. Steamboat presented Styles with the X-Division title.
This was tremendous in every way. Styles scored a fall on all three men, making it clear he was a worthy champion but Lynn was also the one to score a fall on Styles setting Lynn up for a natural rematch. The early stages of this match were lots of fun but it really came into its own once it came down Styles and Lynn who went all out to establish the X-Division as something special, as TNA’s unique selling point from the outset. And they more than succeeded. ****3/4
Final Thoughts: Watch Hall vs. Jarrett for the novelty, watch the main event for the way it defined what TNA could have become. It defined TNA’s potential. Two established stars proving their worth coupled with two younger wrestlers showing their wares on a national stage for the first time. And the younger wrestler beat the established wrestler. It had a wonderful balance of leveraging veteran names to establish new ones, while giving the veterans a stage to shine once again. TNA never quite found that balance consistently going forward.
View the full show below: