Wrestler of the Day – July 29: Kazarian

Today is one half of the best tag teams in the Biz-A-Ness: Kazarian.

Kazarian got his start in 1998 on the California independent circuit, but we’ll pick things up on March 17, 2001 on WWF Metal, a late night syndicated show.

Frankie Kazarian/Keiji Sakoda vs. Kaientai

Funaki and Kaz get things going with the jobber nailing a springboard back elbow to the jaw. The announcers try to get the fans to call their local media and ask for more on the XFL because the thing is already in major trouble. Sakoda comes in and runs Funaki over but walks into a shot to the face from Taka. Kaientai takes over with a camel clutch from Funaki to set up a low dropkick to the face from Michinoku. Sakoda comes back with a clothesline to Funaki and makes the tag to Kazarian as everything breaks down. Funaki sends Sakoda to the floor and a Michinoku Driver gets a fast pin on Kazarian.

Kaz would head to the WWA promotion and open the Retribution PPV.

Kazarian vs. Shark Boy

TNA is around at this point but it’s still in its very early days, so there’s a chance these guys have both been there. It’s a smart move to have guys like these open the show as they should be able to fire up the crowd. Kaz looks almost identical to how he does ten years later, just with longer hair here. The lighting has a blue tint to it here and it sounds like the audio is coming through like normal commentaries do instead of through the arena speakers.

Disco gets the comedy going fast by suggesting that Shark Boy was conceived on the set of Jaws and may be the son of Richard Dreyfuss. Kaz is the heel here and gets caught by an early hiptoss and some chops in the corner. Sharky sends him to the floor and gets caught by a plancha. Kaz is pulled back in but sends Shark Boy into the middle buckle to take over. An atomic drop puts Kaz down and Sharky bites him on the trunks for good measure. The referee gets one too and the fans are way into Shark Boy.

Kaz comes back with a quick leg lariat to take over before getting two off a snap belly to belly suplex. We hit a quick chinlock but Sharky fights up, only to be backdropped out to the floor. Back in and a leg sweep takes Shark Boy down for two but Kaz misses a guillotine legdrop to give us a breather. Shark Boy comes back with right hands and a one knee Codebreaker for two.

Kaz has his head pounded in the corner and there’s a bite by Sharky for good measure. A top rope rana brings Kaz down for two but a SWEET bicycle kick takes Shark Boy down again. Kaz, still “The Future” at this point, hits Back to the Future (a bridging electric chair drop) for two, only to have Shark Boy take him to the corner for the Dead Sea Drop (dragon sleeper flipped over into a Stunner, more commonly known as Diamond Dust) and the pin.

Rating: C. This was fine and the perfect kind of match to open a show like this. You take two fast paced guys and let them go out there for six minutes of high spots. It’s nothing great but it didn’t need to be. These are two young guys getting a shot and they did a good enough job with it so it’s a good start here.

It’s off to TNA now with Kaz appearing on Weekly PPV #47 on June 4, 2003. I believe this is his TNA debut.

CM Punk/Frankie Kazarian/Matt Stryker vs. Damian Dothart/Johnny Swinger/Kid Romeo

No not that Striker. Stryker and Romeo get things going with Romeo grabbing an early headlock. Kazarian comes in and gets taken down by a slam for two as the heels (Romeo’s team) triple team for a bit. Swinger comes in legally and gets dropkicked and armdragged before it’s off to Punk. It’s armdrags a go-go until it’s Dothart in to trade headlock takeovers.

Off to Swinger vs. Stryker and more heel cheating gives the bad guys the advantage. Romeo chops on Matt in the corner but has a monkey flip countered into a kind of belly to belly suplex. Dothart grabs a northern lights suplex for two and it’s back to Swinger. He slams Matt down but takes too long walking around, allowing for the hot tag to Kaz. A double clothesline drops Swinger and Dothart as everything breaks down.

Kaz hits a huge dive to take out Swinger on the floor, only to have Damian thrown onto both of them. Punk dives on all three, Romeo dives onto all four, and Stryker adds an Asai moonsault to take everyone down. Back in and Swinger hits a jawbreaker on Matt, only to get caught in a Gory Bomb from Punk. Romeo hits something like White Noise on Punk but gets caught by a DDT from Matt. Kaz comes back in and hits a spinning downward spiral on Dothart for the pin.

Rating: C+. It’s your standard X-Division flying match with everyone going everywhere near the end. That’s a solid idea as it opened the show and got the fans fired up for the rest of the card. It wasn’t the best match in the world but it was entertaining, and that’s all this match needed to be.

Kaz would win the X-Division Title and defend it on Weekly PPV #97 on June 9, 2004.

X-Division Title: AJ Styles vs. Frankie Kazarian

From June 9, 2004 with Kaz defending. This is one of the first matches in the six sided ring which debuted six days earlier on the first episode of a show called Impact. It’s strange to see Kaz in Antonio Banderas form nowadays. Feeling out process to start with AJ taking the champion down into a front facelock. Kaz counters into an armbar as the fans tell him that he still sucks. An armdrag gets AJ free and they stare each other down again. Styles grabs the arm for a wristlock but Kaz gets in a shot to the jaw to escape.

Another armdrag sends Kaz out to the floor but he comes back with a wristlock of his own. AJ starts firing off some kicks to the thigh before peppering Kaz with forearms. Kaz sends him into the ropes but AJ drops down to set up the dropkick but the champion wisely heads outside. Back in and Kaz has to escape a Styles Clash attempt so now AJ hits the dropkick and a knee drop for two. Kaz gets sent out to the floor again and the frustration sets in for the champion.

Things start to pick up with AJ throwing Kaz back inside but getting caught by a slingshot DDT onto the apron. Back inside and Kaz suplexes Styles down and pounds away with right hands to the head. AJ tries a sunset flip but Kaz rolls through into a nice spinning neckbreaker for two. An ax handle to the back has AJ in trouble but he comes back with a running forearm in the corner but only hits turnbuckle on the second attempt. Kaz scores with a slingshot dropkick in the corner to knock the wind out of AJ after the miss knocked the senses out of him.

We hit a chinlock for a bit before going outside again with AJ being sent ribs first into the apron. Back in and Kaz snaps AJ’s throat over the top rope but misses his slingshot splash. This has been very good back and forth stuff so far which doesn’t leave me much to talk about. Both guys go to the corner and AJ superplexes Kaz down to the floor for a sick sounding thud.

Both guys are slow to get up and back inside but it’s Styles getting all fired up for forearms to the head. Kaz loads up a spinning downward spiral but AJ spins out and nails him with the Pele. The Styles Clash is countered with a kick to the head into a rollup for two and a kind of jumping superkick gets a very close two. Kaz puts him on the top rope but has to escape a middle rope Styles Clash. Instead it’s Kaz with the downward spiral (his finisher) for another near fall.

Kaz loads up a Clash (popular idea against AJ) but AJ gets free and takes the champion down with a discus lariat. Styles goes up again but another jumping superkick puts him down. AJ shoves him down and TOTALLY misses the Spiral Tap but covers anyway. Since there was literally no contact Kaz kicks out at two but the referee counts the pin anyway. The announcers are as confused as I was but we have a new champion.

Rating: B+. This was REALLY good stuff until the ending screwed things up. I mean there were literally nine inches of mat between AJ and Kaz on that Spiral Tap attempt but the pin counted anyway. Still though, I can easily accept nineteen minutes of awesome in exchange for thirty seconds of horrible.

Kaz would get on regular pay per view around this time, including a match on the third TNA regular pay per view, Against All Odds 2005.

Kazarian/Michael Shane vs. BG James/Jeff Hammond

Yeah, the old racer is wrestling here. He’d be about 49 or 50 here. BG makes some bad racing jokes before the match. Wait…according to what I can find, Hammond is a CREW CHIEF. He isn’t even a driver! Anyway, BG and Shane start us off. No wait Hammond wants to fight. Hammond grabs a wristlock and thankfully tags off to a wrestler. The non-X Division guys work over Shane and BG does most of the work.

BG takes Shane down and drops a knee on him for two. Kaz knocks him to the floor and hits a huge dive to take over. He hits a slingshot dropkick in the corner ala Hardy and Shazarian double teams BG. Neckbreaker gets two. Hammond comes in and can’t do anything BECAUSE HE ISN’T A WRESTLER. BG is knocked to the floor and Shane superkicks Kaz by mistake. Hammond drops an elbow for the pin. Screw this.

Rating: F. The match sucked, the guy isn’t even a driver, but his name is on TV so five people might know who he is. Twelve days later Kaz left TNA and signed a developmental deal with WWE. GEE, I WONDER WHY HE WOULD WANT TO DO THAT??? When the best thing you can say about a match is that it was short, that’s a bad sign.

Kaz would sign with the WWE around this time as centerpiece of the Cruiserweight division. Here’s one of his matches, from Velocity in August of 2005.

Frankie Kazarian vs. Paul London

They trade wristlocks to start and we actually hear about them meeting in the ECWA Super 8 tournament, a very prestigious indy wrestling tournament. London hits a Mushroom Stomp (double stomp) but charges into a belly to belly suplex into the corner. Back up and Paul gets two off an electric chair suplex, followed by a dropsault for the same. London nails a spinwheel kick and a wheelbarrow faceplant for an even closer two. He loads up another electric chair but Kaz falls forward into a rollup for the pin.

Rating: D+. Nothing to see here as Kaz never went anywhere in WWE due to them making up the idea of revamping the Cruiserweight division. London was fine in a spot like this, but there was no future for these guys when the division almost only existed on a show like Velocity. Kaz was fine but didn’t have a platform to do anything on here.

Kaz would come back to TNA where he belonged, including this match at Genesis 2006.

Kazarian/Maverick Matt/Johnny Devine vs. Voodoo Kin Mafia

The three guys that would become Serotonin are in their new look now but have only been talking about their redeemer who would later be revealed as Raven. The Mafia is now at WAR with WWE. Tenay flat out says they’re going after Vince and it would only get worse. The fans chant that DX sucks. Anyway, Roadie, the guy only famous for being in DX, starts off with Matt.

BG (Road Dogg) gets taken into the corner and the heels alternate on him to take over. They tease the white shirt wearing Kip to allow more triple teaming. They’re flying through this match so it’s not going to last long. BG gets in a shot and hot tags Kip. Kip cleans house and uses a Pedigree as Tenay talks about the War. Devine jumps off the top but gets caught in the cobra clutch slam for the pin.

Rating: D+. Nothing to see here but anything that furthers this idiotic angel isn’t a good thing. As I said in the Turning Point review, I have no idea what they thought they were proving with this thing, but it would result in them “invading” a house show which they claimed was the same thing as DX invading WCW in 1998.

Serotonin didn’t do anything and Kaz eventually rebelled, setting up this match at Hard Justice 2007.

Kaz vs. Raven

Raven had some freak show team around this time and Kaz rebelled. This is the revenge match. Raven offers Kaz a chance to return to the team but Kaz pops him. They head to the floor quickly and Seretonin (the team) gets involved but screws up, giving Kaz control early on. Raven hits the Russian legsweep into the rail spot that he often does. In the ring, Raven busts out a victory roll of all things for two.

A Million Dollar Kneelift puts Kaz on the floor. Raven beats on Kaz but Kaz fires back with punches. I don’t know what it is but I can’t get into this show at all. I think a lot of it is the lack of storylines and context for these matches and angles, but I don’t think they’re going to be interesting no matter what you do with them. Kaz takes out the other Seretonin guys but Raven cracks him with a kendo stick to the head. Kaz escapes a DDT, hits a one footed dropkick….and gets the pin. At least it’s over.

Rating: D. Just a messy brawl that wasn’t anything to see. There were some cool spots, but Raven was just annoying Kaz here more than being a threat. This was another of those feuds that I have zero interest in but have to sit through for the purposes of writing this. That being said I wasn’t interested in this feud four years ago either.

Kaz would get a push around this time, including this ladder match at Genesis 2007.

Christian vs. Kaz

Winner gets a shot at the champion at some point in the future. Remember that it’s a ladder match. Kaz hammers away with some kicks and there’s the first ladder. Christian picks it up so Kaz hits a spinning dive over the top onto said ladder which hurts him more than the Canadian. Christian is bleeding right around the eye. Here’s ladder junior and it’s bridged between the ring and the barricade.

Kaz gets laid out on it and Christian goes up top. He drops a frog splash on Kaz, but the ladder is all like IS THAT ALL YOU GOT? THAT AIN’T GONNA BREAK ME BOY! That eye of Christian looks bad. Kaz moves out of the way and spins Christian into the ladder in the corner. He sandwiches Christian behind a ladder in the corner but on a charge Christian PELTS the ladder at Kaz, sending him down. The crowd is already way into this.

Christian does a few more painful things to Kaz but his attempt at the contract doesn’t work. Kaz gets in a nice looking shot as he swings the ladder like a bat. They both go up ladders and Christian manages to hit a reverse DDT off the top. Kaz gets up again and puts Christian on the ladder with a backdrop and then the spinning legdrop that he uses. The fans think it’s awesome and I can’t really disagree.

Kaz suplexes the ladder onto Christian and then goes up for the scary spot of the matc. He climbs to the very top of the ladder and drops a leg on Christian onto the ladder, but the middle part moves so Kaz’s leg hits the ladder square on. FREAKING OW MAN!!! Christian goes up so Kaz hits a springboard dropkick into the ladder which knocks the ladder into the ropes, knocking the cameraman off the apron.

AJ and Tomko come out but Christian calls them off. Both guys go up the ladder but it topples over. Christian goes flying down to the floor where he lands on the tag champions. The look on his face is great as it says “I just want to go home and have a grilled cheese.” Kaz was able to get his foot onto the rope to stop the fall and shove himself back up. He pulls down the contract to win it.

Rating: A-. Now THIS was fun. This is the third time tonight that the X-Division guys have been allowed to go out there and have fun and it’s the third very good match they’ve had. What else can you ask for other than that? Great match here with both guys beating each other up and taking some HARD shots.

Kaz and Eric Young would team up, setting up this stupid match at Lockdown 2008.

Rock N Rave Infection vs. MCMG vs. Eric Young/Kaz vs. LAX vs. Scott Steiner/Petey Williams vs. Black Reign/Rellik

This is Cuffed in the Cage: all 12 in the match at once and it’s elimination by being cuffed to a rope, last man standing gets his team a shot at the tag titles at a future date. Reign and Rellik (Killer backwards. Clever huh?) beat up Eric backstage before they can come out. The entrances take a few hours or so. Oh and Black Reign (Goldust but a cheap knockoff that no one bought) and Killer are supposed to be monsters. This is idiotic.

How in the WORLD have the Guns not been tag champions yet? There are two sets of tag titles in TNA (don’t even get me started on how freaking stupid that is) and they can’t get one of them. That’s just stupid. Oh LAX already have a title shot, so they’re getting a chance to get a second one here, because it would make NO SENSE to take two people out of here to, oh I don’t know, unclutter the match thing a tiny bit???

This was back when Petey was Maple Leaf Muscle, as in a tiny version of Steiner. Is this supposed to be Mexico or something? Steiner just beats the tar out of everyone until LAX takes him down. About four people get him cuffed to eliminate him. What would be smart here? Perhaps having him leave? Nope, that would make too much sense, so he just stays in the cage cuffed to the cage. Someone was actually paid to think of this. That’s just sad.

Young comes down and gets scared by the monsters. You can’t tell a thing that’s going on because THERE ARE ELEVEN PEOPLE IN THERE AT ONCE. Sabin and Shelley get cuffed at the same time. Petey is put out and I just couldn’t care less. The problem here is that you get some decent stuff and spots but there are just so many people in there and the camera jumps around so much that you can’t see anything at all. LAX are both out.

Kaz is out as we have Killer and Rock N Rave and Black Reign left. The fans already get the idea as they chant Super Eric. The idea is this: Eric Young puts on a shirt, a mask and a cape and all of a sudden he’s not scared anymore and is an awesome fighter. This is making me lose intelligence very rapidly. He does a HUGE dive off the top of the cage to put four guys down. Ok that was pretty cool looking. Hoyt (Vance Archer) is put out.

The other problem becomes that no one can move anywhere as there are people on so many parts of the cage. Oh Jimmy Rave is out too. Young gets the two monsters to win the stupid thing. To further drain my intelligence, here’s how this played out. Eric and Kaz won the tag titles (why they’re not being defended here and why the X Title isn’t being defended here is beyond me.

Tomko and AJ FREAKING STYLES were the tag champions, yet they’re not on the PPV. Upon further review they’re in the Lethal Lockdown match so that makes it a bit better) at the next Impact but because Super Eric wasn’t the guy Kaz entered the match with they didn’t get the titles.

Instead they were held up and a whole PPV, Sacrifice, was dedicated to getting new champions with LAX and 3D fighting in the finals of the Deuces Wild tag tournament where you had random partners fighting established teams but the random partners WON NO MATCHES. THIS WAS PRAISED by TNA fans. They thought this was a good idea.

Rating: F-. This was just so freaking stupid that I can’t believe it exists. Seriously, TWELVE PEOPLE in the cage at once and you handcuff them to eliminate them. I wanted wrestling, not some screwed up sex fantasy that even Vince McMahon would say slow down when offered. Seriously, screw Dave Meltzer. He said that Edge vs. HHH vs. Kozlov was worse than this? Dave is a brilliant guy, but his anti-WWE bias gets out of hands at times.

Kaz was hot enough at this point that he would be in a cage match at Sacrifice 2008 to get a World Title shot later in the night.

Curry Man vs. Sonjay Dutt vs. Consequences Creed vs. Shark Boy vs. Jimmy Rave vs. Kaz vs. Alex Shelley vs. Chris Sabin vs. Johnny Devine vs. Jay Lethal

Sure we can put TEN PEOPLE in a cage and expect it to be coherent in any way, shape or form. TNA: redefining overdoing it every night. Winner gets an X-Division Title shot at some point in the future against I think Petey Williams. Shark Boy is Stone Cold here and it’s just so stupid. Cornette comes out and says the winner gets to be in the main event in Angle’s place. For the record, the total time of the entrances and Cornette’s announcement and lowering the ceiling on the Dome: 7:31. Longest match so far tonight: 8:45.

Everyone but Rave and Curry Man (Christopher Daniels as an Indian/Japanese curry company mascot) go onto the cage walls and try to escape. The six sided ring is bigger so there’s some extra room but since everyone is on the walls it’s hard to call anything. The Guns take over with speed and Creed makes a run for the top. Kaz, ever the scholar, uses Creed’s arms as a slingshot to drop a leg on someone instead of pulling him down. Creed, also the lunkhead, drops down to beat up Kaz.

Another problem is that everyone is wearing black tights except for the people that aren’t so you can barely tell most of them apart. They mess up the Tower of Doom pretty badly and Dutt escapes the Spice Rack to Dutt. You can’t really call anything but spots here and it’s really annoying because of that. Creed hits a DDT on Rave. Shelley takes a Chummer (Stunner) from Shark Boy.

Sabin and Shark Boy mess something up badly but Kaz takes him out with a spinning downward spiral. Dutt has been chilling on the roof for awhile so Curry Man takes him down. Rave takes a Spice Rack off the top rope. There’s nothing else to report here other than these random spots. They’re flashy looking and cool but there’s no coherence or flow to it at all.

Curry shoves Kaz off the top rope and goes up, only to have Kaz come stop him. Rave pulls him off the top with a Codebreaker and Devine hits a Devine Intervention (double underhook piledriver) to Creed. Shouldn’t the afro shield him from that? Rave goes up and Kaz pulls him off. It’s certainly good that 8 people were in the middle of the ring and no one was going after Kaz who escapes to advance to the title match later.

Rating: B-. Yeah it’s fun but there’s no way you can tell what’s going on for the most part here. This needed to be about 5 guys at most and they could have gotten something going. It’s a nice change to the cage match formula so of course TNA never used it as anything resembling that since they’re not incredibly intelligent at times. This was fun but it really needed to be tweeked.

And the title match from the same show.

TNA World Title: Samoa Joe vs. Kaz vs. Scott Steiner

Frank Trigg is on commentary because wrestling companies think we watch wrestling to see MMA. Joe gets a big tribal dance thing. After some big match intros we’re ready to go. Kaz grabs a rollup on Steiner 10 seconds in and a second one 20 seconds in. Joe is like screw this and runs them both over, unleashing some kicks. He cleans house and puts a half Liontamer on Kaz.

Steiner runs over for the save and is immediately put in a Fujiwara armbar. Now Kaz is in a Texas Cloverleaf. See, this is what I like Joe doing: throwing on random holds because that’s what he’s supposed to be good at. A clothesline puts Steiner on the floor and he hits his face on the apron. Kaz tries that spinning springboard legdrop but Joe moves. Trigg is actually offering ideas and strategy, suggesting that Steiner and Kaz should join up and double team Joe to take him out. I have no problem with someone that wants to be there and is trying. Trigg is doing both.

Steiner sends Joe into the railing outside and it’s Kaz vs. Steiner with the roided one in control. Scott hits a Samoan Drop off the middle rope for two on Kaz. Is that gimmick infringement? Joe is beating him like he stole something so maybe it was. Steiner busts out the suplexes and puts Joe in the Recliner. He does what no one could do in 2000 and stands up, letting Kaz hit a dropkick in the form of a Doomsday Device to put Steiner down for a full 5 seconds.

Steiner charges into the release Rock Bottom in the corner from Joe. Joe tries a suicide dive but jumps into a pipe Steiner is holding. It looked like the shoulder took most of it. Back in a slingshot DDT gets two for Kaz. Petey gets involved and crotches Kaz and a Frankensteiner gets two as Joe makes a very last second save. Why is it that a single shot to the leg can cause a guy to go flying off a cover?

Joe goes insane and is holding his shoulder. It would be good selling if it was the same shoulder that the pipe hit but left and right might be a bit too complex for Joe. A superkick puts Kaz down but he gets up in time to kick Joe onto the apron. Kaz tries something off the top on Steiner but it looks like a bad DDT. Steiner gets a cover out of it if that gives you any idea. With Steiner still on top Joe grabs the MuscleBuster and retains.

Rating: C+. Not bad here and they had a decent match. Steiner vs. Joe would have been bad so adding in the high flying of Kaz was a nice touch. It’s not a great match or anything but it was fine for Joe’s first major title defense. The pipe never went anywhere but it wasn’t supposed to I don’t think. Not great but not bad here so just over in the middle sounds good.

Kaz missed a good while due to an injury and return as the masked Suicide character. This set up a match at Sacrifice 2009 against Daniels, who had been accused of being the character.

X-Division Title: Christopher Daniels vs. Suicide

Suicide is defending. Christopher is just called Daniels here but screw that. Suicide pops up behind Daniels after the lights come back up. Feeling out process to start as West compares this to Area 51, Lee Harvey Oswald and if man walked on the moon. West starts talking about Curry Man, another guy that Daniels portrayed. The fans chant suicide. Yeah that’s not weird at all. The main thing going on so far is West rambling about his conspiracy theories.

Daniels gets a rather weak crossface chickenwing on the mat for a few seconds. Enziguri completely misses but it’s sold anyway. Release Rock Bottom sets up the Best Moonsault Ever which is avoided. They can’t get a tombstone reversal sequence as this hasn’t been much from a quality standpoint. West keeps going with his theories and they get more and more annoying each time.

They go to the ramp a bit and Suicide counters into one of those fireman’s carries into a front flip but hurts some part of his leg or foot on. Daniels gets a nice slingshot move into a rollup for two. Sabin of all people comes out to distract the referee so Shelley can sneak in to hit a Codebreaker to give Daniels the pin.

Rating: D+. Not much here. It was decent enough but it just never got out of the blocks. I have never been a fan of Daniels as his matches just come off as boring beyond belief to me. This was no exception as it just kept on going until the Guns came out to set up the finish. Can someone please explain the appeal of this guy to me?

Daniels grabs the mic and says he didn’t have anything to do with the Guns being there so Daniels wants five more minutes and I guess Suicide is still champion here. Ok so the match is going to continue. By the way, this isn’t overbooking as it fits in with the whole Daniels/Suicide conspiracy angle they’re using here. Suicide takes over for awhile here which is a change of pace from the previous match. Or earlier in the match or whatever the right term is.

Koji Clutch goes on Suicide as Daniels gets the advantage but ropes are of course grabbed since the draw is more or less a given at this point. In something you’ll hardly ever see in this arena, the fans chant boring. We get the clock as we have less than a minute. Don’t let Samoa Joe see it! Standing BME is blocked as Suicide gets two off the counter. Codebreaker gets two at the bell.

Rating: C. That’s for the extra five minutes which was much better than the first twelve but not by much. Suicide is a guy I could get into more than Daniels and this is a great example of that. Not a great match at all but for a shorter thing like this it worked fine I guess. Still not wanting to see any more of Daniels though.

More Suicide, this time at Bound For Glory 2009.

X-Division Title: Chris Sabin vs. Alex Shelley vs. Amazing Red vs. Suicide vs. Daniels vs. Homicide

This is Ultimate X and the Guns got in by winning a tag match earlier. Suicide is played by Kaz here. Dinero was supposed to be in this too but had a legit family emergency. Red has Don West with him. This is Red’s first Ultimate X match. That’s rather surprising. And there’s a rather scary close up of Homicide. Red and Suicide (how did he and Homicide never team together?) go to the floor as the spots begin.

Daniels stops a huge dive by Red to kill the crowd. Daniels has won four straight of these matches apparently. Red hits a SWEET Rana off the top to Daniels to the floor, taking out about 3 other people. The Guns take over with some of their awesome team stuff. No real attempts at going for the belt until Homicide heads up there. Suicide trumps Homicide though and everyone crashes.

This turns into the Guns vs. everyone else as Daniels takes a missile dropkick Doomsday Device. Everything goes insane again and you can’t really follow much of anything. Homicide, a heel here, goes up but Daniels stops him. Daniels and Sabin play a little chicken but both crash as well. SICK tornado DDT by Sabin. Red gets a leaping Downward Spiral to take out Daniels as this has been rather fun.

There’s the required Tower of Doom spot that never gets old with the big move being Suicide hitting a moonsault on Daniels. To give you an idea, Suicide was on the top rope. Red got behind him for a German. Red was powerbombed off by Sabin. Red suplexed Suicide off and Suicide flipped into a moonsault press onto Daniels. Ok so onto is a stretch but you get the concept.

The crowd isn’t really feeling this outside of big spots, which isn’t great but it’s also not horrible. They know their chants though I suppose. Best Moonsault Ever to Sabin. Daniels, Suicide and Red go up to the top of the structure, as in 7 feet about the X, getting a please don’t die chant. They’re above the height of being on top of the Cell. Daniels almost falls as this is terrifying.

Daniels thankfully drops down as does Suicide. Red is laying on top as the Guns go for the traditional way. Suicide and Daniels go down and Daniels lands on his head. Tazz half kayfabe shouts CHECK HIM, and I couldn’t agree more. Red drops down and gets the belt. I’m legit worried about Daniels after that fall. Don West comes out to celebrate.

Rating: B. I was trying to figure out if it should be minus or plus but this is fine. I’ve never been wild on having big gimmick matches like this to open the show. I get having an X match here but not the big gimmick matches like these. Save these for the middle of the card where the crowd needs a boost. Still though this was solid and the spots were great. Daniels’ fall was scary, though he would be ok. Fun match here and it did its job perfectly.

Kazarian would return and take part in another #1 contenders match at Destination X 2010.

Kazarian vs. Brian Kendrick vs. Amazing Red vs. Christopher Daniels

Winner is #1 contender to the X Division Title. Oh and it’s a ladder match. This was when Daniels had some weird thing on where it wrapped around his neck and then down to his arms. It just looked weird. Make your own Antonio Banderas jokes. We get going and Kendrick hits the floor. Smart. Red launches himself of the ropes to hit everyone not named Kendrick.

There’s your first ladder. Everyone goes for the contract in a row but no one gets it. I love that STO Daniels does. Taz knowing the real name of it might be the only thing of worth from him. The ladder has an ad for TNAwrestling.com. There’s something amusing about that. TNA gets the idea here at least: have a spot fest.

That’s what a match like this is supposed to be and that’s what they’re giving us. Red hits a SWEET hurricanrana to the floor. In a spot that I thought was stupid Kazarian has Red in position for the Flux Capactior on the ladder. The setup is like a Rock Bottom. His left arm is free. WHY DIDN’T HE GRAB THE PAPER??? He makes up for it a bit with a slingshot Fameasser to a ladder on Daniels. Nice.

Kendrick gets his fingers slammed in a ladder. FREAKING OW! Daniels and Kaz are the only ones left in there. And there’s Kendrick so never mind. Crowd is totally behind Kendrick here in case you’re wondering. That five clap sequence the audience does needs to freaking die. It truly does.

In a nice spot, Red goes for a springboard something but jumps into a Diamond Cutter from Kazarian. I like it. Ladder number two is in and Red and Daniels have a race. Kazarian does the Shelton Spider-Man spot to get onto the ladders and knocks Daniels off to win the  thing.

Rating: B+. It was a spot fest and that’s all it had to be. This was a great way to open the show and the match was solid as it could be. Even in a TNA crowd you have to get them fired up and what better way than this? Kaz will win the title soon and after this he deserves it. Fun match and a great opener.

Here’s a title shot, from Genesis 2011.

X-Division Title: Kazarian vs. Jay Lethal

Hey look the X Title is opening the show again! It’s new! It’s exciting! It’s exactly what was expected! They start before the bell rings and Lethal hits a rana and rams in right hands. To be fair a fast paced match is a good way to get a crowd going so I can’t make too much fun of it. Lethal gets a dive to the floor and hits a moonsault to the floor to continue establishing his dominance.

Kaz takes over again and we chop it out. Things speed up somewhat with Lethal taking over after a series of counters. I’m surprised Kaz is moving this fast as he hasn’t done that much recently. Kaz takes over again as this has been very back and forth. It’s the first internet broadcast for TNA also. Lethal gets the handspring elbow to put both guys down.

This is personal of course. Has there ever been a professional fight in professional wrestling? In a very cool spot Lethal was on the apron and Kaz pulled him in using the ropes but moved over in a split second to catch Lethal in a cutter. Flux Capacitor is blocked into a sunset bomb by Lethal for two. Good stuff so far. Apparently Kaz is in trouble if he doesn’t get the title here.

Reverse tombstone is blocked as Kaz rolls through. Kaz gets a slingshot DDT for a close two. He slaps Lethal to fire him up so Jay rifles off chops to the chest. Where else would they go I guess. Lethal sets for the top rope elbow but gets caught by a running enziguri. When did that become the most popular move in the world as everyone seems to use it anymore. Kaz can’t get the reverse tombstone off the top but gets it a few seconds later in the ring for the pin and his fourth X Title.

Rating: B-. Pretty decent match here but this wasn’t much of a surprise at all. I really hope they don’t go with the Immortal domination tonight though. This was a fun match and definitely got the crowd into it. I have a bad feeling though that this will be the high point of the card which certainly isn’t a good thing. Still though, at least we got a good match out of the opener.

Daniels and Kazarian would join forces to make AJ Styles’ life miserable. Here’s a match from the feud at Against All Odds 2012.

AJ Styles vs. Kazarian

Kaz is in a shirt which he tries to remove but Daniels says no. AJ controls with a headlock and rips the shirt off himself. They fight over the arm as the fans are all over Daniels. Kaz gets sent to the floor and AJ is in control. Backbreaker puts Kaz down as Styles is working on the back. A flying forearm puts Kaz on the floor for a minute but AJ gets it back inside to avoid Daniels.

A bridging Indian Deathlock with a facelock cranks on Kaz’s back even more. Kaz comes back and slams AJ down so that the spinning springboard legdrop (Wave of the Future maybe?) can get two. Spinwheel kick gets two. Now Kaz works on AJ’s back with a hard whip in and a jumping Russian Legsweep for two. Leg lariat gets the same. Kazarian hooks a double chicken wing on the mat but AJ fights up to his feet.

They slug it out and AJ takes over with a pair of clotheslines and an enziguri. Styles sets for an atomic drop but slams Kaz face first instead, getting two. Styles Clash and Fade to Black are both countered and Kaz hits a dropkick to regain control. AJ grabs a jawbreaker but can’t hit the Clash. Kaz kicks him to the apron and hits a slingshot DDT onto said apron as we hit the floor. Slingshot cutter gets two back in. This is getting good.

AJ is sat up on the top and Kaz hits a running superkick to almost send him to the floor. Kaz goes up for the Flux Capacitor (C4) but AJ knocks him down with a headbutt. Moonsault into the reverse DDT gets a very close two. AJ tries a suplex into a neckbreaker but Kaz reverses into a hard Downward Spiral to put everyone down. They go into a pinfall reversal sequence which gets two for both guys and ends with a Pele to put Kaz down. AJ is sent to the apron and loads up a springboard forearm but instead hits a gorgeous Asai Moonsault to take out Daniels. He tries to springboard at Kaz but jumps into Fade To Black for the pin at 18:37.

Rating: B. Can’t argue with this one either. AJ is always awesome to see when he has time and the ability to be himself. Kaz can do great stuff too, but I could do without Daniels ever being near AJ Styles again. At the end of the day, AJ is going to win the feud with him again, just as he has every time they’ve feuded.

We’ll take a break from PPV for a bit to look at an Xplosion match from March 20, 2012.

Eric Young vs. Kazarian

Young and ODB recently won the Knockouts Tag Titles which they still hold as of this writing. There are blue lights in the arena for some reason, making it look like a more laid back Sin Cara match. Eric locks up with the referee to start before things speed up. It’s a crisscross but Kaz rolls out of the ring. Young keeps running until Kaz gets on the mic and calls him a buffoon. Kaz wants none of this tomfoolery so he heads back inside, only to be caught in an armbar.

Young gets thrown to the floor as the fans loudly cheer for the bizarre one. We take a break and come back with Kaz holding a chinlock. Young fights up with some shots to the ribs, only to get caught by a spin kick to the face. Off to a front facelock for a bit until Eric comes back with a jawbreaker. For no apparent reason Young takes his pants off and comes back with a belly to belly suplex. A slam puts Kaz down again and there’s a top rope elbow for two. Kaz comes back by putting Eric’s pants on his face (just go with it) but Eric hits a missile dropkick for two. A low blow and rollup with feet on the ropes gives Kaz the pin.

Rating: D-. I do not like Eric Young. His “comedy” isn’t funny and it only has been once or twice in his entire run in TNA. Seeing a man put his pants on his head and seeing him enjoy it doesn’t make me care about this guy and I have no desire to see his schtick anymore. Hopefully he stops it now that he’s come back to TNA.

Kaz and Daniels would get a Tag Team Title shot on Impact, June 28, 2012.

Tag Titles: Kurt Angle/AJ Styles vs. Kazarian/Christopher Daniels

Daniels and Kaz are challenging but Kaz doesn’t like Daniels all that much right now. He and AJ start and AJ takes him down followed by a kick to the back. Off to Angle and Kaz tags out, almost by slapping the taste out of Daniels’ mouth. Kurt charges into a boot and Daniels hits his slingshot elbow. Off to Kaz who covers off that elbow for some reason. Daniels yells at Kaz and tags himself back in but runs from AJ. The challengers argue on the floor as we take a break.

Back with Daniels in control of AJ and hitting his running STO for two. Angle comes in and cleans house. He fires off Rolling Germans on Kaz and does the same to Daniels. Kaz grabs a TKO for two on Kurt but gets caught in the ankle lock. That gets broken up quickly and everything breaks down. AJ clotheslines Kaz down but gets caught in a Blue Thunder Bomb. Angle gets sent into the referee by Daniels so Chris grabs a chair. Kaz pulls it away and lets AJ hit the Pele. Kaz tells AJ to finish this, but then hits AJ in the back with a chair, giving Daniels the pin and the titles at 11:34.

Rating: B-. So Kaz is evil for the sake of being evil. I guess that works, but would this count as two turns in the same show? Eh it’s fine as it’s better with AJ and Kurt not being champions again as the titles weren’t really fitting on them. This was nowhere near as good as the Slammiversary match but it was fine for a TV main event.

Now called Bad Influence, Kaz and Daniels would compete at the first X-Travaganza One Night Only.

Bad Influence vs. Petey Williams/Sonjay Dutt

Williams and Daniels get things going with Petey being sent in the corner but coming out with a headscissors and a smack to the face of Kazarian. Off to Dutt for a double elbow for a two count and some shoulders into Daniels’ ribs in the corner. Kaz comes in and ducks a kick, only to be caught by a standing moonsault for two. A dropkick gets the same for Dutt and it’s back to Petey.

Williams hooks a Sharpshooter on Kaz while Dutt hooks an Octopus Hold on Daniels. Petey hits some slick combo moves on both guys by hitting both guys at once before shrugging off a double leg drag. Kaz finally comes back and drapes Williams over the top rope to send him to the floor and take over. Off to Daniels for his slingshot elbow drop followed by the slingshot legdrop from Kaz for two. Daniels hooks a test of strength on Petey and climbs the rope to drive a knee into his chest for two.

We hit the nerve hold by Daniels for a bit before Petey is driven into the corner to break up a comeback. Kaz comes in for a front facelock as things slow down a bit as you would expect them to at some point. Petey finally fights up and gets to the corner for the hot tag to Sonjay. Dutt hits a cool bulldog into the middle buckle and a springboard legdrop onto the back of Daniels’ head for two.

Sonjay misses a springboard clothesline to Daniels and gets caught by a tornado DDT for Kazarian as Taz rips into Earl Hebner for being old. Dutt escapes Fade to Black but gets caught in a powerbomb/neckbreaker combo for two. Williams comes back in for his headscissors into a Russian legsweep for two on Daniels but Kaz breaks up the Canadian Destroyer.

Dutt hits a standing Sliced Bread on Kaz for two more but Daniels makes the save. Petey sends Daniels to the floor and hits a sweet slingshot rana to take him down. Dutt kicks Kaz in the head and loads up the moonsault double stomp, only to have Daniels break things up. Fade to Black puts Dutt down and the BME is good for the pin for Daniels.

Rating: B. Good fast paced formula based tag match here and that’s really hard to screw up when you have talented guys like these people. Dutt continues to look awesome since his comeback to the company but unfortunately TNA feels the need to focus on bland guys like Zema Ion for reasons I can’t fathom.

Another One Night Only, at Hardcore Justice II.

Bad Influence vs. Generation Me

Ladder match as mentioned and Generation Me are Max and Jeremy Buck. They all shake hands to start but but everyone turns on everyone like true heels should. Generation Me takes over with some quick neckbreakers but Bad Influence takes them down with strikes. We get the first ladders brought in as this is moving very fast so far. Jeremy starts climbing but Kaz pelts another ladder at him for the save. The fans seem to be behind the Bucks as Kaz hits a TKO on Max from the top of the ladder.

Daniels gets backdropped onto a ladder and Kaz gets the same via a monkey flip. A ladder is bridged between the ring and the ladder so Max can spear Kaz down under said ladder. Daniels is dropkicked off the apron onto the ladder but Kaz saves his partner from being splashed through the ladder. Jeremy suplexes Kaz from the apron onto the ladder in a very painful looking landing.

Daniels is stuck in the ring with both Bucks but manages to shove Max off the ladder onto the top rope but Max lands on his feet on the rope and springboards down to take out Kaz. AWESOME bit of balance there. Jeremy goes up but Kaz pops back in with a springboard dropkick to make the save. All of the ladders are down now and a sliding dropkick from Kaz sends Max to the floor. Jeremy makes another save on Daniels by slamming him face first into the mat to put him down. Kaz and Max go up but Daniels throws the Appletini into Buck’s face, allowing Kaz to pull the check down for the win.

Rating: B-. This was the kind of pickup the show needed. Sometimes a good spotfest is the solution to your problems and that’s what we got here. This was also a good example of what happens when you put something on the line in a match like this. The $20,000 isn’t a great prize, but it’s worth more than bragging rights or whatever else you want to say the first two matches were worth. Allegedly Kaz is undefeated in ladder matches in TNA. If so that’s rather impressive.

Back to Impact for Hardcore Justice 2013 on August 15.

Bound For Glory Series: Austin Aries vs. Jeff Hardy vs. Kazarian vs. AJ Styles

This is for 20 points and it’s a ladder match. The clipboard hanging above the ring has a piece of paper with the number 20 on it. Keeping it simple I guess. Kaz goes to the floor to get the first ladder but the other three block him from coming back in. Aries and Kaz fight for the ladder on the ramp with Austin letting go of the ladder to send Kaz to the floor. A top rope ax handle puts Kaz down but AJ knocks Hardy to the floor as well. AJ dives onto Hardy to take him down again and leave Styles as the only man standing.

Kaz gets in a ladder shot to put AJ down before climbing the ladder. Aries comes back in and crotches Kaz against the ladder, leaving Austin vs. Jeff in the ring. Jeff sends him to the floor but AJ pulls the ladder away for a showdown. Hardy tries a quick Twist of Fate but gets shoved off and sent to the announce table on the floor. Kaz comes back in with a slingshot DDT to AJ but has to have a forearm duel with Aries. Styles dropkicks the ladder into the back of Kaz’s head but Aries backdrops AJ to the floor. The company is living up to its name for a change as this has been nonstop action since the bell.

Aries runs interference to stop Jeff and AJ from going up the ladder before sending Kaz head first into the post. Austin tries a climb but gets pulled down by Hardy and Jeff knocks down the other two as well. Jeff and Austin both go up but Kaz and AJ make the save, sending all four guys down as we take a break. Back with Aries going up but being pulled down by Kaz before he gets too far. AJ stops both of them and hits the springboard forearm to send Austin to the ramp. The ladder appears to be bent or broken.

Kaz brings in another ladder to clean house but can’t climb up fast enough. All four guys go up at the same time and AJ gets his fingers on the contract but Aries shakes everything up with a sunset bomb to Hardy. Kaz and AJ are left alone on the ladder and they fight over a suplex off the ladder. Kaz rakes AJ’s eyes to put him down but Styles shoves the ladder over, putting everyone down again.

Aries hits his running dropkick in the corner on Styles and goes up but Hardy makes another save. Styles pulls Aries off the ladder and loads up the Styles Clash but Kaz pulls in a downward spiral on AJ at the same time. Kaz goes up but it’s Jeff making another save. Aries comes out of the corner with a missile dropkick to take them both down and goes up as well, but here are Roode and Daniels for a distraction.

Styles plays Shelton Benjamin by springboarding up to the ladder but Hardy shoves the ladder over, sending both guys to the floor. Roode pulls Hardy down as Daniels distracts the referee but Jeff kicks him off. Daniels slips the appletini to Kaz and Jeff gets blinded, allowing Kaz to get the win at 17:35.

Rating: A-. This was the simple formula of take four guys and let them dive off stuff for fifteen minutes or so. I’m not big on another faction in TNA because they’re already on overload with them, but at least they’re not involved with the other two. The action here was great though and they couldn’t have picked a better opener.

We’ll wrap it up in Japan at One Night Only: Global Impact.

Bad Influence vs. Junior Stars

The Junior Stars are Koji Kanemoto and Minoru Tanaka. Kanemoto wrestled at Starrcade 1995 and invented the Koji Clutch. Tanaka was in TNA for the 2006 World X-Cup. I’m assuming the Junior part is for their weight class and not for their ages. Daniels and Tanaka get things going with Christopher being taken into the corner, where he shouts CLEAN BREAK about fifteen times in a loud voice. Daniels does the same to Tanaka, who shouts the same thing and is granted his request. They hit the mat for a bit before Tanaka dropkicks Daniels’ knee.

Off to Kanemoto vs. Kazarian with Koji taking over, using something like Joe’s Facewash. Taz says Koji invented that move which really wouldn’t surprise me given Joe’s work in Japan. Kaz comes back with a dropkick and is hiptossed onto Koji by Daniels for two. Back to Daniels as Taz makes jokes about photographers. They’re firmly in the “let’s make jokes instead of calling the match” mode tonight.

Bad Influence starts some fast tagging to keep Kanemoto in trouble but he avoids a charge from Daniels to get a breather. A suplex puts Daniels down but there’s no tag to Tanaka. Instead Koji misses a moonsault and a double big boot puts both guys down. A double tag brings in Daniels to face Tanaka with Minoru taking over with shots to the face. Everything breaks down and Tanaka dives off the middle rope to take Daniels down to the floor.

A half butterfly suplex gets two on Christopher and Koji gets two off a 450. Kazarian pulls the referee out to really get the fans’ attention. A powerbomb/neckbreaker combination gets two on Tanaka but he pops up and puts Kaz in an ankle lock. Kanemoto puts Daniels in a cross armbreaker at the same time but Kaz crawls over to save his partner. Why Tanaka lets go of his hold when Tanaka’s is broken isn’t clear. Bad Influence goes High/Low for the pin out of nowhere on Kanemoto.

Rating: C+. The match was fine for an opener as Daniels and Kazarian can wrestle without having to do all their comedy stuff. That fits in better for a more serious show like this, and the match was entertaining as a result. It wasn’t anything spectacular but not every match has to be.

Kazarian may never have been the star of the X-Division but he was always good at what he did. He found a niche in ladder matches and was one of the most successful performers ever in the gimmick. I love his stuff with Daniels as they’ve found something absolutely hilarious and are allowed to have fun out there.

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