On This Day: June 19, 2002 – TNA Weekly PPV #1: How Have They Survived As Long As They Have?

TNA Weekly PPV #1
Date: June 19, 2002
Location: Huntsville, Alabama
Commentators: Mike Tenay, Don West, Ed Ferrara

So since last night was the 3 hour Impact, I thought it was a good time to go back to the beginning and take a look at the origins of TNA. This was the Wednesday night series when once a week for 9.95 you could watch the NWA. It’s still the old school show at this point and this is literally their first show ever. No one knew it would one day become as big as it is now, but it amazingly is.

This is from about the time that Hogan is world champion in the WWF. Actually no he’s not as Taker would have it at this point, but Hogan is still around. Anyway, let’s take a look back at almost 8 years ago and see how TNA got its start.

The intro is of course about the old days of the NWA because everyone wants to see that right? Don West brings out Ed Ferrara, who looks almost exactly like Road Dogg. I saw him and thought it was him. He even sounds like him. Tenay welcomes us to the show as apparently we have to start with a legends ceremony. There will be a new world champion tonight in the first ever Gauntlet for the Gold. It’s a Royal Rumble but the last two have a singles match.

Oh I’m going to get sick of Ferrara.

JB, in a four sided ring of all things, introduces some legends. Harley Race, Dory Funk Jr., Jackie Fargo, Bullet Bob Armstrong, Corisca Joe and Sara Lee (who ARE these people?), Bill Behrens, who wants you to know he likes the NWA and if you don’t know, he’ll make sure to tell you, Ricky Steamboat (NOW we’re getting somewhere! He has the world title with him and they say it must be like old times for him to have it.

That would be the case if he held that one and not the big gold belt which he actually had). Steamboat addresses the crowd. There actually was a reason for this starting the show: something about a no show or something and they had to reschedule things. Steamboat says he’s the referee for the main event tonight.

Jeff Jarrett interrupts and says the main event is going to suck. Well ok then. He says it’s going to be stupid and then Mike Tenay just sounds like a freaking moron by shouting answers at the questions that Jarrett asks. Jackie Fargo is annoying. He’s a legend, but he’s old. That’s the problem with the NWA: they believe that the fans care about these old guys that most of them have never heard of.

Apparently Fargo has matchmaking power and puts Jarrett in at number one. Ken Shamrock comes out and agrees it’s going to suck. Here’s Scott Hall. This feels like last night. Oh let’s reference the NWO again, because that’s SUCH a fresh idea. HALL says the battle royal will suck, but they have to do it so shut up. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? They had the three biggest stars in the company say that the show is going to suck. You can’t script this kind of stuff.

Some chick named Goldilocks talks to a midget. Take that Hornswoggle bashers.

AJ Styles/Low Ki/Jerry Lynn vs. The Flying Elvises

You read that name right. They’re Jorge Estrada, Jimmy (Wang) Yang and Sonny Siaki. It’s original if nothing else. AJ looks YOUNG here. He’s just a regular guy. The legends in the back aren’t sure what to say. They point out that this isn’t about weight limits, even though other than Joe, no one with any weight has ever held the belt and he was about 5 years away. Ok so the Elvises are heels. Got it.

The faces hit dropkicks and ranas to start. It’s your standard spotfest to start and that’s fine. It’s a tried and true method to get the crowd going so there we are. Next week we have the X-Division Title tournament in a round robin tournament. Cool. I might do more or these but we’ll see. More or less everyone just shows off for awhile which is what they’re supposed to do.

The X Division has never been about stories but just insanity and that’s perfectly fine. We start the Elvis puns and I shake my head. For the life of me I’ll never get how the Honky Tonk Man got over as much as he did. We get an MMA reference before MMA was cool. Here’s AJ who looks about 17 here. Estrada kicks his head off so there we go. Lynn hits the Cradle Piledriver and it’s all breaking down. We get our first Pele kick. Yang hits a rotating moonsault to pin AJ which means nothing at this point.

Rating: B-. This was fine. There was no story and there wasn’t supposed to be. This was to get the crowd going and it did just that and more. It’s really short but that’s fine. No problems here, but DANG AJ looked like he was in high school or something.

Hollywood vs. Teo

Yes, it’s a midget match. The irony here is STUNNING. Oh Teo is an EXTREME midget. Apparently Rey Mysterio was originally asked to be a midget wrestler in Mexico. That has nothing to do with the mask but they talk about it anyway as they need to get references to WWE in there to give them credibility.

I have no idea what the point to this match is. Teo hits a splash from the top that wasn’t bad. Naturally the biggest spot in the match gets two. A top rope leg drops gives Teo the win. His name stands for Totally E. Outstanding. Oh dear goodness.

Rating: N/A. It’s like two minutes long and I’ll spare the it was too short jokes. I’ve never gotten the appeal of these matches but whatever.

Girls dance.

Ferrara and West get in the ring to announce a lingerie battle royal for next week. They bring out some of the women for next week, including Francine, Joanie (no clue who that is), Daffney (they say she used to be Daffney but now she’s Shannon), Alexis Laree (Mickie James, pre implants), Sasha (no clue but she’s ugly), a Ravens cheerleader named Erin, Elektra from ECW, Taylor Vaughn (who is apparently familiar but I don’t know her) and some chick named Tarita.

This is just an eye candy segment but not a very good one. Mickie looks WAY different, to the point where I had trouble picking her out of a line. Francine and Elektra argue and it’s apparent why they never talked. They actually blame Francine for ECW going bankrupt. A guy would wind up winning the battle royal.

There’s a guy named Mortimer Plumtree. I can’t make this up. He’s a teacher apparently, just not a very good one. He would actually wind up managing AJ for awhile. He has a tag team that we don’t see. Oh wait it’s the Johnsons.

Johnsons vs. Psicosis/James Storm

Yes, it’s the tag team that wear masks and full body suits and look like human penises. This team actually exists. Storm looks completely different too and it’s not a good thing either. Storm fires off some cap guns. Good for him. OH MAN he looks young. Apparently their names are Richard and Rod, or Dick and Rod. I hate this already. Ryan Shamrock comes out looking hot to watch them.

And now it devolves into nothing but penis jokes. They say Psicosis’ real name for absolutely no apparent reason. Ryan Shamrock, called Alicia, still is there. Storm hits a rana and a good one at that. They say Storm could be great. Not really but he’s not bad. And then he gets pinned off a bad TKO.

Rating: D+. This was just pointless. It’s like they have nothing but the main event and they know it. This was just freaking awful. The jokes were completely pointless and annoying. I have no clue what they were going for here but whatever.

The referee gives Ryan Shamrock money.

The Dupps, a hillbilly team, torment Goldilocks. They and some chick try to drink beer but some random as guy says not to. Ok then.

Two NASCAR guys are here for the sake of being NASCAR guys. Ron Killings (R-Truth) show up to interrupt them. Of course he’s a heel because he hates NASCAR and says it’s not a sport. Brian Christopher of all people shows up and beats up R-Truth. Naturally a match is set up for next week. Oh and his name is K-Krush here. Dang they got that one right eventually.

Jeff Jarrett harasses a 71 year old man. Thanks for killing another 15 seconds.

Christian York/Joey Matthews vs. The Dupps

The Dupps are named Stan and Bo. Stan Dupp. Oh dear. Their cousin is both of their girlfriends. I hate this gimmick already. The faces are your standard face cruiserweight tag team. They have a ton of charisma if nothing else, but they’re just generic. Ferrara needs to fall in a hole. After the faces dominate for about two minutes the girl interferes to crotch York for the pin.

Rating: F-. This was a waste of 4 minutes of my life. The heels had NO offense but they win on a fluke anyway. That’s just crap but of course it’s what they went with here. I hated this and they could have used it for ANYTHING else.

Toby Keith has one of his music videos played and then sings live. That’s completely pointless again but it’s considered an epic moment. Jarrett interrupts him and we start the battle royal now.

NWA World Title: Gauntlet for the Gold

Royal Rumble with 90 second clocks and then a singles match at the end. Jarrett is first and second is Buff Bagwell. Bagwell hits the Blockbuster and then is thrown out. Before the 90 seconds are up they have the next guy come in to avoid the clock just ticking away. I like that. Lash Leroux of all people is second. Just end this now. He’s out in about 45 seconds and Norman Smiley is 4th of 20.

There goes Norman after about a minute. This is just pointless. Apollo, a Puerto Rican wrestler with a great look is 5th. K-Krush is 6th and he saves Jarrett. Actually he doesn’t but the announcers say he does. This is just mindless stuff as nothing of note is happening and it’s just random stuff to fill in time, which is how you could describe the whole show to be fair. Oh hey let’s make fun of Toby Keith even more.

Tenay is PISSED that the heels are working together for no apparent reason. Slash, with James Mitchell who has a stable that we haven’t heard from until now, is 7th. He’s one half of PG-13 who was a big deal in Memphis and nowhere else. Jarrett saves him for no apparent reason. Must be a Tennessee thing. Del Rios who is another big guy is next. He’s a former USWA (Memphis) champion. He’s a Scott Steiner lookalike and they even point that out.

He’s better known as Phantasio, which is a guy that Monkey is a mark for. He was a wrestling magician of all things which somehow evolved into Papa Shango but was given to the guy that played him instead. Oh come on he’s even got the Superman S on his trunks. Some guy from NWA Wildside, a former WCW farm territory, is 9th. The clock is off the screen now and the times are getting longer. Konnan is 10th.

Every guy has their resume read with as many WCW, WWF and ECW references as we can get in there. He beats up everyone and the crowd loves him. We really need some eliminations. Joel Gertner who has lost about 100lbs brings out Bruce from a team called the Rainbow Express. Yes it’s a gay tag team and Billy and Chuck are a big deal at the moment. No coincidence there at all.

He’s Kwee Wee from WCW if you’re wondering. He’s the guy that wins the battle royal next week. MAYBE 15 seconds later, Rick Steiner comes out. Slash is out. There goes Justice who looks like a combination of Rhyno and one of the Pitbulls and now Rick goes after Jarrett. Malice (The Wall from WCW) is 13th. He chokeslams everyone in sight. Ok with Konnan it’s more like a chokeshove.

Truth makes up for it though by going WAY into the air. There goes Bruce, Truth, Del Rios, Konnan and Steiner are gone, leaving us with Malice, Apollo and Jarrett. Scott Hall is 14th to a huge pop and they actually give him a resume too, like he needs it. He’s the Outlaw now for no apparent reason. Hall hits a Razor’s Edge on Jarrett and here’s Toby Keith to suplex Jarrett and throw him out.

Oh how I hate singers trying to be wrestlers and failing so badly at getting people to care. Hall actually throws Jarrett out to make it count for the ridiculous NWA. Chris Harris is 15th and no one cares as no one knows who he is. Vampire Warrior (Gangrel) runs out early and beats up Harris. Ferrara will not shut up about Jarrett and I’m sick of him in ways I didn’t think were humanly possible.

Devon Storm, more commonly known as Crowbar from WCW, is next. The second biggest star in this match is Gangrel. That says the whole thing. Steve Cornio is 18th as I can’t believe this made it 5 weeks. Ken Shamrock is the penultimate entrant and he suplexes a lot of people. Brian Christopher, who should give his father 20% of every dollar he ever makes in wrestling because he never would have made a dime otherwise. A ton of people go out in succession and all by Christopher. Yes, they had him be a force.

The final five are Shamrock who is almost unrecognizable, Christopher (out before I finish his name), Malice, Apollo and Hall. Malice puts out everyone not named Shamrock, so it’s Ken Shamrock vs. the Wall for the world title. You read that right. This is just garbage as he survives the ankle lock for about 40 seconds before walking around just fine. A belly to belly ends a five minute nightmare.

Rating: F+. This was just a trainwreck. We had Brian Christopher, Gangrel, Lash Leroux and Norman Smiley in the main event. Let that sink in for a bit. Also, Shamrock beats the Wall for the title. Why not Hall, who people at least know? This was just a mess, much like the whole show. I have no idea what the point here was but it was bad. This was ¼ of the show, and that’s just unacceptable. The booking was off the wall as SHAMROCK, who hadn’t been seen in about two years and looked awful, gets the belt.

Jackie Fargo, who looks and sounds older than his 71, wants to fight Jarrett who wants to fight Toby Keith but Scott Hall fights Jarrett next week. They brawl to end this mess.

Overall Rating: D-. And that’s being generous. This was awful on all levels as nothing of note happens with the main event was just a trainwreck. When the three biggest names you have all say the main event is stupid, it hurts things badly. There is zero flow to this and if I didn’t know better, I would have bet on this not making it three months.

They changed things up a lot and it got a ton better, namely when Russo and a ton of other guys showed up to replace guys like the Dupps and the jokes in the main event. Definitely stay away from this one as it’s awful.

 

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