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By PWINSIDER.COM STAFF on 2004-02-08 20:00:00

by Buck Woodward

NWA:TNA last night came into the show with, arguably, their worst show ever on paper.  To their credit, the show certainly exceeded my expectations.  Not that I would categorize it as a "must see" event, but it certainly wasn't the worst show they have put on. 

On of the problems NWA:TNA has faced is letting people know in advance what will be on the show.  In this case, while we were told of Brian Urlacher of the Chicago Bears, Jonny Fairplay and ICP, we weren't told that the AAA wrestlers would be appearing.  Considering that TNA reaches a majority of their PPV audience through the Internet, I am willing to be that a number of Lucha Libre fans would have been willing to toss down their ten bucks if they knew Juventud Guerrera, Abismo Negro, Hector Garza and Aguila were on the show.  Unless it is being booked as a "surprise" (like Mikey Whipwreck), any possible matches and talent appearing should be advertised, as it might entice someone on the fence to buy the show. 

As for the much talked about Jonny Fairplay, Brian Urlacher and Insane Clown Posse appearances, I totally understand having them, provided they aren't paying a ridiculous amount for them to appear. NWA:TNA is fighting an uphill battle to be noticed.  If Fairplay can get them on a few radio shows, or if Urlacher can get them a clip on SportsCenter, then it is at least mentioning NWA:TNA to some potential viewers that wouldn't know of the company otherwise. Publicity stunts are still publicity.  As for the ICP, their presence has resulted in loud, active audiences, something the promotion has been lacking in recent weeks.  The trick now is to impress those fans, so they familiarize themselves with the workers and direct their energy towards them, rather than chanting for ICP all night. 

Onto my thoughts and opinions on this week's show.  

I thought Abyss-Brown made for a good opener, and I like that they had Brown cut the promo about wanting to take out Abyss for what he did to AJ Styles last week.  It gave a storyline to the bout, and a reason for fans to care about it.  Brown is one of the few wrestlers that the fans react to as being a "star", so him putting over Abyss is a boost to a talent that TNA obviously has plans for.  After some weird decisions in his booking, it appears that Abyss is back on track to being pushed as a total monster. 

Jeff Jarrett talking on his speakerphone to his lawyer is ridiculous.  The lawyer just seems to be TNA's excuse to make up rules, matches and stipulations without any real logic.  "The lawyer said it, so we have to accept it" seems to be the idea here.  Tom T. is not Charlie, and Jarrett, Callis and Kash are not Angel's. 

Chris Sabin vs. Michael Shane was the requisite X-Division match that TNA has on every show.  The fans were cold towards the two at the start, but they won them over by the end.  A fine match, and arguably the best of the night. Still, there is obviously still a gap between these two and more experienced workers like Jerry Lynn, Elix Skipper, AJ Styles and Christopher Daniels.  I also enjoyed Shane Douglas on commentary referencing 3 Live Kru making fun of him last week, as it set up the run-in later that night.  

I never watched Survivor, and I didn't see his Howard Stern appearance, so all I know of Jonny Fairplay is what I have seen on NWA:TNA.  So far, all I see is a "Andy Kaufman in Memphis" impersonation, and not a very good one either.  He came off better this week than he did last, and perhaps his Piper's Pit ripoff will be the right vehicle for him, so my jury is still out on him. I really don't know if his "15 minutes of fame" is justifying his fifteen hundred dollar paycheck.

I have enjoyed the storyline of Sandman bringing in former ECW stars (this week being Mikey Whipwreck) to take on CM Punk & Julio Dinero, but three minutes?  Quite frankly, this is a monumental waste of talent.  This is an offshoot of the Raven-James Mitchell storyline, and the fans might care about it if they actually gave the matches some time.  If they waste Terry Funk like this next week, NWA:TNA management should be burned at the stake. 

The Brian Urlacher moment was what it was, an attempt to get a nice video clip for news shows and ESPN.  I would say it is ridiculous that Urlacher took out two men by himself that would go on to become the tag team champions later in the show, but I don't think that even needs to be pointed out.  Well, I guess I just did anyway. 

Kid Kash fighting with Tiny the Timekeeper and Sarah Lee the ticket lady was funny once.  The 345th time, it is just stupid. 

I really wanted to love the Shark Boy, Matt Stryker, Chad Collyer & Eric Young  vs. Juventud Guerrera, Aguila, Hector Garza & Abismo Negro match, but nine minutes for a eight man tag, combined with several communication breakdowns during the match, killed it for me, although I still enjoyed it.  It was something different, and I am glad to see the AAA talent exchange taking place.  I just hope it doesn't disappear after the America's X Cup. 

Now that the Red Shirt Security are the NWA World Tag Team Champions, can they please get them some wrestling gear? Northcutt is still green, but Legend is a good worker, and they just look dumb wearing jeans and security shirts while wrestling matches.  They are wrestlers, let them look like wrestlers, not security guards moonlighting in the ring.  They are the champs now, they should look like champions.  Maybe 3 Live Kru losing the tag straps will allow Ron Killings to finally get back into the singles scene. His talent is wasted in short tag matches and comedy skits. 

The Insane Clown Posse promo wasn't my cup of tea, and I really have no desire to see them wrestle Glenn Gilberti and David Young (actually, I have never had the desire to see Glenn Gilberti on my television screen, but that's another matter altogether), but considering the number of fans they draw to the shows, they have to give the ICP fans a match. Let's hope it is quick though. 

Erik Watts vs. Don Callis was arguably the worst main event TNA has ever produced.  It was just embarrassing from so many perspectives. The fact that Mike Tenay has more heat than most of the babyface wrestlers is sad, and I really (and let me stress, REALLY) hope there is not some warped Tenay vs. Jarrett match down the road.  The handcuff gimmick was dumb, with the exception of Kid Kash and Jerry Lynn, who actually did some spots while standing on the floor, rather than just willingly stand next to a person they hate. I am glad they finally got the Goldylocks turn over with.  I just pray this doesn't mean she will be cutting a promo about it next week. 

Looking over the show, it started out fine, but took a nosedive at the end.  Not a consistent effort, and while not the disaster I feared when I saw the lineup, I still don't see anyone running out to get a tape of this.

Feedback can be sent to Buck Woodward at


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