TNA Weekly PPV #2: AJ Styles’ First Classic

TNA Weekly PPV #2
Date: June 26, 2002
Location: Von Braun Center, Huntsville, Alabama
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Ed Ferrara, Don West

So now that I’m done with all of the regular three hour PPVs for all of the companies, I figured I should start doing the two hour TNA shows as well. There are 111 of them and I’ve already knocked off one, so we’ve got 110 to go. Last week we crowned a new world champion in the form of Ken Shamrock. That means we need a first X Division Champion, which is what we’re doing tonight. Let’s get to it.

Here’s the first weekly PPV in case you’ve never read it:

TNA Weekly PPV #1 – It All Begins

We open with a recap from last week with Jackie Fargo making Jarrett be the first entrant in the gauntlet match for the world title. Shamrock was in the gauntlet and Scott Hall debuted too. Shamrock wound up winning the title after Jarrett was eliminated by country singer Toby Keith. Jarrett went off and beat up everyone post match and Fargo made Hall vs. Jarrett for tonight.

Jeff Jarrett vs. Scott Hall

Toby Keith and Jackie Fargo come out with Hall. Hall looks decent here, despite having been fired by WWF a few weeks before this. We stall to start before Jarrett does his walk up the back and slaps to the back of Hall’s head. Hall takes Jarrett down with some right hands and catches a cross body in a fallaway slam. A clothesline puts Jarrett on the floor and Jeff runs from the singer.

Back in and Jeff cleans house with punches and dropkicks, followed by the running crotch attack while Hall is in 619 position. Jarrett puts on a sleeper and we go to a LONG shot of the crowd for some reason. Hall fights up to a knee and puts on a sleeper of his own, which is a signature sequence of Hall’s.

A suplex to Hall puts both guys down but it only gets two for Jeff. Hall comes back with a bunch of clotheslines for two of his own. He loads up the Edge but K-Krush (R-Truth) breaks it up. Brian Christopher chases him off which would set up a future tag match. Jarrett loads up the Stroke but Keith low blows him, followed by a double clothesline from Keith and Hall for the pin.

Rating: D+. This was a kick and punch match for the most part but it was fun to see Hall looking decent for once. It’s a shame that he screwed up so much over the years given the natural ability that was there. Jarrett would obviously move on to a lot more stuff in the company while Hall would be gone before Halloween.

We recap last week’s preview of this week’s lingerie battle royal. To clarify, we’re recapping previews of things that haven’t happened yet. The match is for the title of Miss TNA and the preview wound up being about ECW as two of their former chicks were in there.

Cheex vs. Frank Parker

Cheex is an ENORMOUS man, listed at 400lbs but likely closer to 600. This is the only match either guy ever had in TNA. The tag match between Christopher/Hall vs. Truth/Jarrett is announced and that’s the highlight of the match. Cheex is basically Rikishi and does the same kind of gimmick he did, minus being Samoan, having charisma, or any form of talent. Some decent looking chick (Apparently Ryan Shamrock, called Alicia) is talking to Jeremy Borash which is apparently about a payoff from last week. Cheex wins a squash with a splash.

We’ll have new tag champions next week via a tournament.

We recap K-Krush vs. Brian Christopher which is about NASCAR drivers because that’s what wrestling fans want to hear about. Well to be fair this is in Alabama.

K-Krush vs. Brian Christopher

They keep swapping between calling his Brian Christopher and Brian Lawler. Christopher does his Too Cool dance to the ring and the NASCAR guys with him look at him like the idiot he looks like. Krush is the evil one here which I doubt was clear coming into this. He jumps Christopher to start but Brian comes back with a neckbreaker. A bulldog out of the corner gets two for Brian but a second results in him getting crotched on the middle rope.

Krush suplexes him down to take over again, getting a delayed two in the process. He does the backflip into the splits into the side kick spot that he uses today for two. Off to a chinlock as this is going nowhere. Brian fights up, I guess doing what you would call Cooling Up. An enziguri puts Krush down as does a Stunner but Krush hits an atomic drop to put him down. The NASCAR guys shake the ropes to crotch Krush and he falls right into position for the guillotine legdrop from Christopher for the pin.

Rating: D. This felt like a random match between two former WWF guys, and that’s not something interesting. At the end of the day, why in the world am I supposed to care about the guy best known as K-Kwik yells at some NASCAR drivers? Christopher without his Too Cool partners isn’t interesting either, at least not outside of Memphis. Nothing to see here.

Miss TNA: Lingerie Battle Royal

Taylor Vaughn, Alexis Laree, Elektra, Erin, Francine, Miss Joni, Miss Sasha, Shannon, Teresa Tyler

Borash gets the names completely wrong, really hammering home how inept these guys were to start. Everyone is in white pants and shirts here. You’re eliminated by being stripped and I think that’s the only way. I have no idea who most of these chicks are but one of them trips coming to the ring. That’s Erin apparently. Various people have their clothes taken off, they look decent in lingerie, Francine cries after being eliminated, Ferrara feels her up and gets hit low for it, the final two are Vaughn and Elektra with Vaughn winning. This is four and a half minutes of my life I’ll never get back. No rating as it wasn’t wrestling.

Oh and Francine strips Vaughn.

Apolo says nothing because Bobcat and David Young interrupt Goldilocks while she’s interviewing him. Bobcat yells at her and Goldilocks says cut the interview.

Apolo vs. David Young

Young keeps ramming into Apolo but he also keeps bouncing off. Apolo hits a tilt-a-whirl slam and an overhead belly to belly to send Young to the floor. Apolo dives onto him as the camera stays on Bobcat, who is hitting on Borash. Young works on the arm in the ring as we watch Bobcat seduce Borash. Back in the whole match portion of this part of the show, Young suplexes Apolo for two and we hit a chinlock. That doesn’t last long as Apolo hits a springboard tornado DDT. A spinebuster puts Apolo down but Young looks at Bobcat. Apolo superkicks him down and hits a TKO for the pin.

Rating: F+. I feel bad for the wrestlers here because the main problem with this match was the Bobcat nonsense. They cut over to her at least eight times in a five and a half minute match. This was nothing good either way though as both guys were rather dull. I’ve always liked Apolo for some reason though so we’ll give it just slightly above a total failure.

Joel Gertner of all people does the ring introductions for the next match. He doesn’t have the neck brace and is far skinnier than I remember him, but he can still rhyme. Apparently he’s the manager of the Rainbow Express. They’re gay and he’s not, but who cares. Gertner gets on a moderate high horse and says it’s ok that they’re gay because they’re awesome.

Rainbow Express vs. The Dups

Rainbow Express is Lenny and Bruce, meaning Lenny Lane and Kwee Wee from WCW. The Dups are Bo and Stan. Say their names in your head and you’ll get it. We cut to the back and the Dups say they won’t wrestle these alternative lifestyle people. Bill Behrens goes up to two guys in jeans who are going to replace them.

Rainbow Express vs. James Storm/Chris Harris

If you don’t recognize the names, this would be the debut of the team that would become known as America’s Most Wanted, who would be the most successful team in TNA history. The Express jumps the replacements but Storm and Harris clean house, knocking both guys to the floor. Storm and Lenny get things going and Storm charges into a boot in the corner. Lenny hits a bad looking tornado DDT to Storm and it’s off to Bruce.

Don West has to FREAK because Lenny kisses Bruce’s hand to tag. You know, because they’re gay and therefore evil. Harris gets a hot tag and cleans house but everything breaks down. Oh ok the hot tag wasn’t seen. Lenny suplexes Storm down as we hear about how the Express had to be in the closet for years because of WCW. Lenny hooks a Liontamer (called a Tiger Tamer here for no apparent reason) but Harris breaks things up. Everything breaks down and Harris gets two near falls on Lenny. The Express is rammed together and a rollup gets three on Lenny for the pin.

Rating: D-. This was another dull match in a series tonight. The stuff here with the Express being gay was about as forced as you could get and it became really uncomfortable at times. Also it’s very clear at this point that they have almost no idea how to fill in “two hours” (read as about 100 minutes) every week. Bad match here, but AMW would get about a million times better.

Here’s Ricky Steamboat to bring out the new world champion: Ken Shamrock. Steamboat lists off a bunch of names of former NWA Champions that Shamrock’s name now joins. Shamrock talks about being everywhere doing wrestling and MMA and in every one of them he’s risen to the top. Except WWF that is I guess.

Cue James Mitchell who says he’s on a mission from God (so no one can stop him). He means his own god that is, which is why the Disciples of the New Church are going to control the world title. Therefore, Mitchell challenges Shamrock to defend against Slash next week. Shamrock says let’s do it now, but the distraction lets Malice come in from behind and chokeslam the champ. Malice keeps choking him and security can’t pull him off.

We recap the opening match next week which was a six man X-Division tag. The match saw AJ Styles/Jerry Lynn/Low Ki vs. the Flying Elvises. Tonight the first X-Division Champion will be crowned from Styles, Lynn, Low Ki and Psicosis. Tonight it’s a round robin tournament for the belt, even though three of these four guys lost their match last week.

X Title: AJ Styles vs. Jerry Lynn vs. Low Ki vs. Psicosis

Yes it’s just the X Title here as this isn’t an official division at this point. Ok so from what I can tell, two people start it off and when one is pinned, someone else comes in. When you lose twice, you’re eliminated. That’s a pretty cool concept actually. Styles and Psicosis start things off with AJ taking over quickly. A superkick gets two but Psicosis hits an elbow to the face to take over. Guillotine legdrop gets two on Styles but he pops back up and hits the Clash for the first pin on Psicosis.

Low Ki comes in immediately and fires off kicks, but AJ nips up from the mat and ranas him down. That was AWESOME. Low Ki reverses a German and kicks AJ’s head off to take over again. The Clash is broken up and AJ is launched into the post. Low Ki goes up top and Germans AJ down into a dragon sleeper (nowhere near as smooth as it could have been). AJ grabs the rope to escape so Low Ki kicks Styles in the head again. Low Ki misses a BIG flip dive and AJ clotheslines his head off. A German suplex into a belly to back facebuster gets the pin on Low Ki to get Jerry Lynn in to face Styles.

Lynn immediately clotheslines AJ down and hits the Cradle Piledriver to give him his first loss. This took less than ten seconds.

Psicosis comes in with a missile dropkick to the back of Lynn’s head to take him down fast. They fight over a go behind until Lynn snapmares him down, followed by a headscissors. Lynn gets a boot up in the corner and a middle rope bulldog gets two. Psicosis sends him to the floor and hits a somersalt plancha to take Lynn out. Back in and a spinwheel kick off the top gets a close two. Ricky Steamboat is going to take over as referee once we get down to two. Psicosis goes up again but jumps into a dropkick. Lynn hits the Cradle Piledriver to eliminate Psicosis.

Low Ki is back in next and it’s time to kick. To recap it’s Lynn with zero losses and Styles/Lynn with one each. Low Ki kicks Jerry down and hits a Muta Elbow for two. Lynn gets up a boot in the corner but Low Ki kicks him in the face and ranas him off the top. Jerry rolls through that into a sunset flip for two and it’s time for more kicks. Lynn says bring it on and hits an enziguri to take Low Ki down. They slug it out and Lynn backdrops him to take over. Jerry goes to the apron and avoids a shoulder to the ribs so he can hit a kind of Fameasser.

Cradle Piledriver is broken up and Low Ki grabs an arm hold. Lynn counters into a HARD powerbomb for two and loads up a brainbuster. Low Ki counters into a fisherman’s buster but Lynn counters THAT into a DDT for no cover. Cradle Piledriver hits out of nowhere and it’s down to Styles vs. Lynn. Styles has to get two falls to win the title while Lynn only has to get one.

Styles runs in and hits a quick kick but the Clash is countered into a rana. A tilt-a-whirl backbreaker gets two for Jerry and both guys are down. Lynn is sent to the apron but his sunset flip only gets one. AJ pops up top and hits a springboard moonsault for two. Jerry snaps off a tornado DDT for a two count and they’re both down again. Styles hits a DDT of his own for two but he charges into a running Liger Bomb out of the corner for two for Jerry. Cradle Piledriver is countered into the Clash and it’s one fall apiece, meaning Steamboat takes over and it’s next fall wins the title.

Both guys are down for a bit before they head to the corner. We get a pinfall reversal sequence which would make Flair and appropriately enough Steamboat jealous. There are about ten near falls in a minute and they clothesline each other to put both guys down again. They head to the floor and Lynn hits a WICKED Irish Whip into the barricade to send Styles flying.

AJ is like screw the pain and hits the moonsault into the reverse DDT on the floor to take over again. Back inside and Jerry breaks up a springboard to hit an Elevated DDT for a VERY close two. Lynn loads up the Cradle Piledriver but AJ counters into a rana. The rana is countered into a powerbomb but Lynn rotates him further than that, sending AJ’s face into the mat in a SWEET move.

Both guys are down again but it’s Lynn up first. Another Cradle Piledriver is countered into an FU into a backbreaker for two for Styles. Lynn counters a suplex into a brainbuster for two of his own. There’s a sleeper but AJ escapes and goes up top, only to get crotched and superplexed for two for Jerry. Lynn loads him up top again but AJ shoves him off and Spiral Tap gives him his first of many X Division Titles.

Rating: A. This was AWESOME and a total star making performance for AJ. Matches like this one were the ones that got the company on the map (eventually) and this was excellent even ten years later. Lynn vs. AJ was the first big feud as they would go at it for months, over that title and another one eventually. Great stuff here and an actual new idea for a match.

We recap the match and recap the show to end things.

Overall Rating: D+. The majority of the grade here is for the main event, because everything before that was DREADFUL. It’s very clear that they have no idea what they’re doing for the most part, but they have enough for some flippy matches and a feud between the bigger named guys. Things would get better, but it would take a long time to get there. The main event is well worth seeing, but other than that there’s nothing here at all.

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