Mega Powers Running Wild!

The legendary 'Macho man' Randy Savage teams up with 'The Immortal' Hulk Hogan to take on Ted Dibiase and Andre The Giant in the first ever WWF Summerslam!

Shawn Micahels vs. Mankind

The Heartbreak Kid defends the WWF Championship against Mankind in a thrilling main event at WWF In Your House: Mind Games.

The Birth of the nWo

From Hulk Hogan's shocking turn at WCW Bash at the Beach 1996 to the addition of Ted Dibiase, THe Giant Syxx and more, relive the very beginning of the New World Order.

Austin 3:16 Says I Just Kicked Your Ass

It's one of the most famous promos of all time; Stone Cold Steve Austin wins the 1996 King of The Ring and serves notice on all the WWF superstars. Check it out in our complete review

Wrestlemania 12 Review

The boyhood dream comes true as Shawn Michaels battles champion Bret 'The Hitman' Hart in a classic 1-hour iron man match. Plus, Diesel vs. Undertaker and more.

WCW Fall Brawl 1996 Review

Was Sting in cahoots with the New World Order? Would Lex Luger be able to get along with the Four Horsemen as they faced the nWo in War Games? Find out in this review

Thursday, 21 March 2019

PPV REVIEW: TNA Slammiversary 2005

Three years after they sprang into existence and set about looking to fill the void in the pro wrestling landscape left behind by WCW's demise, TNA presented their first Slammiversary pay per view. 

Designed as a celebration of the company's short-lived past, it's exciting present, and what they were surely hoping was a prosperous future, the first Slammiversary would become the start of a TNA/Impact Wrestling tradition, one which would last for the next 16 years.

Yes, despite countless rumours that they too would eventually go the way of WCW, the company are still alive and kicking today, and to celebrate that fact, they uploaded the first Slammiversary to their YouTube in its entirety.

Does that make it worth your time?

Let's click the play button and find out together.





Remember when...

After a quick signature which told us that TNA was "the new face of pro wrestling," we got a nostalgic look back at the first ever TNA show from 2002, weirdly interspersed with clips of children running through fields and playing in parks.

We also got clips of some of the biggest stars to come through TNA over the past few years, including Randy Savage, Kevin Nash, Sting, and Raven.

We also took a look at one time Jeff Jarrett did an angle with Hulk Hogan, years before Hogan would actually join the company properly, followed by highlights of the X-Division and a welcome to the company's third anniversary.

Out in the arena, pyro exploded around the entrance as Mike Tenay welcomed us to the show.

Jeff Jarrett Has Been Arrested

Together with co-announcer Don West, Tenay told us that Jeff Jarrett had been arrested and taken out of the Impact Zone for attacking a "fan."

That meant he would be out of tonight's 'King of the Mountain' match and would be replaced by his arch-rival, Raven.

With that out of the way, it was onto our first match.

Six-Way X-Division Match
Zack Gowan vs. Delirious vs. Jerelle Clark vs. Amazing Red vs. Prime Time Elix Skipper vs. Shark Boy

This one started with the set up of two men in the ring with everyone else needing to tag in before quickly -perhaps inevitably- descending into a six-way free-for-all with bodies flying everywhere.

Though there were some entertaining spots (a nice Infrared by Amazing Red onto the outside for one), the whole thing felt very rushed. It just wasn't given enough time for anything to mean anything, so you just got one spot after another with very little rhyme or reason.

What made this worse was the commentary from Tenay and West.

I've always loved Mike Tenay's commentary and never thought I'd have reason to criticise him, but here, he and West oversold everything. At one point, we had the usual "everyone takes turns diving to the outside" spot, and the announcers sold it like we'd just seen Undertaker throw Mankind from the top of Hell in a Cell.

It kind of took you out of the moment and made you think - if they're getting this excited over some -admittedly cool- X-Division spots, how are we supposed to take them seriously if something really huge happens like a world title change?

It's as if every spot was treated as the most amazing thing ever which, in a sense, made nothing the most amazing thing ever.

Anyway, after a short and disappointing match, Shark Boy hit Delirious with a Deep Sea Drop to pick up the three count.
Your Winner: Shark Boy 

Out in the back, Abyss hung around in the dark with some big steel chains, getting himself more and angrier and eventually punching his hand through a mirror while Tenay told us that The Monster would be in tonight's main event.

Alex Shelley Confronts The Shocker

Out in the back, Shane Douglas was happy to have found gainful employment as TNA's backstage correspondent. Here, he interviewed The Shocker, who in terribly bad English, told us that he was the best cruiserweight in the world.

His opponent for tonight, Alex Shelley, strongly disputed this. Shelley arrived on the scene to interrupt the promo and tell Shocker that he wasn't the only hybrid wrestler in the company.

"I can do your lucha libre, your catch-as-catch-can, your American pro wrestling, your Japanese strong-style, even MMA" said Shelley, after which he stormed off, leaving Shocker to rant at him in Spanish.

The whole thing was cringe-worthily awful. Shocker lacked the confidence to cut a compelling promo in English, and, even though he didn't have a language barrier to deal with, Shelley wasn't much better.

Alex Shelley vs. Shocker 

Thankfully, both men were better wrestlers than they were talkers, which I suppose is all that really matters.

Given plenty of time to play with, the two put on a good match that may have been better if they'd manage to get more than four guys on the front row interested in what they were doing.

Despite the lack of crowd reaction, the two worked very well together, blending lucha libre with European submission style to create something that was enjoyable from start to finish.

Despite dominating for a bulk of the match, Shelley fell prey to a roll-up and lost the match to his Mexican opponent.
Your Winner: Shocker 

Next, Tenay took us to a look at the fifth most memorable moment in TNA's short, three-year history, as voted for by the fans on the company's website.

That moment happened to be the time AJ Styles beat Jeff Jarett to win his first NWA World Championship.

Trouble with the 3 Live Kru

Out in the back, Shane Douglas asked 3 Live Kru about their recent issues.

BG James took the mic and told Ron Killings and Konnan that despite whatever issues they might have had, he was 3 Live Kru through and through and could absolutely be trusted.

Though K-Dog and Truth were sceptical, they eventually agreed to bump fists with the former Road Dogg.

Confusingly, it was only after this promo that we were shown what the issue actually was:

The Outlaw (Billy Gunn) had come into the promotion and James' current partners suspected that his loyalties lay more with his former New Age Outlaws teammate than with them.

I know I'm nitpicking, but it would have made much more sense to tell us what the issue was before going to the promo.

The Outlaw vs.  Ron 'The Truth' Killings

Looking to settle things once and for all, Ron Killings represented his team in a fairly average match against the Outlaw which could have been better had Killings been given more time to show off his offence.

While most of us today think of R-Truth as little more than WWE's resident comedian, there were times in this match when he showed us that he's more than capable of doing some really impressive stuff between the ropes.

Not that it was any of that offence which actually won him the match. After taking a beating at the hands of his opponent, Killing's reversed Outlaw's finisher (cobra clutch slam) and got a roll-up for the win.
Your Winner: Ron Killings

Post-match, Outlaw continued to beat down on Killings until BG James ran out and took the chair from him. Outlaw offered his former partner a free shot, but James was hesitant to strike.

Eventually, Konnan ran in and saw off Outlaw, arguing with James as he and Truth left the ring.

TNA's Greatest Moment Number 4

Continuing our fan-voted look at the company's best bits, we went to January 2003 and the debut of Raven.

Team Canada are Pumped Up

Backstage, Shane Douglas interviewed Team Canada about their ongoing rivalry with Lance Hoyt and The Naturals. Bobby Roode was particularly impressive on the microphone, as was Scott D'Moore, at first.

Indeed, the whole thing was shaping up to be the best segment on the show so far (including matches) until D'Moore likened himself to Hitler and Mussolini and tried to make it sound like a good thing.

This led us to a video package highlighting Team Canada and their rivalry with The Naturals.

Again, it probably would have been better to show us all of this *before* getting the wrestlers' comments on it.

NWA World Tag Team Championship
NWA World Tag Team Champions The Naturals (Chase Stevens & Andy Douglas) vs. Team Canada (Eric Young & Petey Williams w/ Scott D'Moore and Alistair 'A-1' Ralphs)

By far the best match on the card so far, this one saw all four men deliver a compelling performance way beyond their relatively limited experience.

This one had it all: Exciting action in the early going leading to the drama and agony of seeing Chase Stevens isolated from his partner and outnumbered by Team Canada and, of course, a dramatic finish.

Throughout this whole tag-team title section of the show, the announcers had been speculating on a mystery mentor and "spiritual advisor" that The Naturals had mentioned.

At the culmination of this brilliant match, that mentor revealed himself to be none other than Jimmy Hart, who tossed Andy Douglas his famous mega phone to use as the match-winning weapon.
Your Winners and still NWA tag team champions: The Naturals. 

man, that was fun.

Up next, we were told that the fans had voted for that 2005's Lock Down cage match as the third greatest moment in TNA history.

Sean Waltman is Ready for the Main Event

Drug addiction isn't funny, so I'm just going to pretend that Sean Waltman had just woken up from a nap as that's about the best way to describe his dopey manner and appearance in this backstage segment.

Interviewed by Shane Douglas, Waltman sort of drowsily fumbled his way through a bland promo in which he said that despite being a good backstage politician, the real reason he was in the title match tonight was that he deserved it.

I'm a big fan of Waltman's, but he did not look good here.

Sonjay Dutt vs. Samoa Joe 

Making his TNA debut, it would have been easy for Samoa Joe to simply toss Sonjay Dutt around like a ragdoll and be done with him.

It would have made sense too. Joe was built by the announcers as a really, really big deal, so having him simply squash his opponent wouldn't have been out of place.

Instead, while The Samoan Submission Machine certainly dominated, this was more of a competitive match than an outright squash, with Dutt looking pretty impressive in his own right.

Still, the outcome was a foregone conclusion.

After a couple of minutes full of enjoyable action, Joe hit the Muscle Buster, applied a Rear Naked Choke and made Sonjay tap.
Your Winner: Samoa Joe

Cutting to the announce table, Tenay and West told us about some of TNA's upcoming PPVs, including the big Bound For Glory in October which West likened to the Super Bowl.

Quote the Raven, NWA-TNA Champion...

Somewhere in the bowels of the building, Raven cut a mesmerising promo in which he described himself as a "human cancer" and declared that he'd rather hug a suicide bomber than be in his opponents' shoes tonight.

Why? Because tonight, said Raven, he was going to fulfil his destiny of becoming the NWA Kingpin. Quote the raven...NWA-TNA Champion...Never More

Bobby Roode (w/ Scott D'More) vs. Lance Hoyt 

I'm a big fan of Bobby Roode and honestly think he could be used better in WWE, but even I have to admit that this wasn't his finest moment.

Though there was nothing particularly terrible about his short match with Lance Hoyt, there was something off about it which made it almost a chore to watch.

Towards the finish, Hoyt looked to have things under control and set up Roode for a big boot. However, the two spent so long in the set-up that it was blatantly obvious the move wouldn't pay off. Predictably, D'More grabbed Hoyt's foot, Roode attacked and got the three count.
Your Winner: Bobby Roode

Afterwards, Roode continued to attack while D'More cheered him on, yet when D'More took his shirt off and went for a top-rope moonsault, Hoyt moved out of the way and mounted a comeback, hitting D'More with a moonsault of his own.

Team Canada ran out along with some EMTs who stretchered D'More to the back while the crowd sang 'na na na, hey hey hey, goodbye."

The whole post-match stuff was more interesting than anything in the actual match.

TNA's Greatest Moments: Number 2 

The TNA debut of Jeff Hardy in 2004.

America's Most Wanted Can't Get Along

Up next, we were shown a video package which highlighted the ongoing arguments between America's Most Wanted partners Cowboy James Storm and Wildcat Chris Harris. The two had been squabbling among themselves while simultaneously feuding with 3 Live Kru who also couldn't get along because of the whole Outlaw/BG James stuff.

America's Most Wanted (Wildcat Chris Harris & Cowboy James Storm) vs. 3 Live Kru (Konnan & BG James)

Despite some early miscues, Harris and Storm were able to get on the same page as they took the fight to their more experienced opponents in a decent, though unremarkable, match.

After a fairly average back-and-forth between both teams, The Outlaw ran in and immediately got into it with Konnan. That left James at the mercy of AMW, who quickly put him away for the pin.
Your Winners: America's Most Wanted

Afterwards, BG refused to accept Konnan's apology for leaving him high and dry, and simply stormed off through the crowd.

TNA's Greatest Moment Ever

As voted for by the fans, TNA's greatest moment was shown to be the time Elix Skipper walked across the top of the cage back in 2004. Deservedly so too, that was insane.

This quick clip was followed by a look at the rivalry between X-Division Champion Christopher Daniels, Michael Shane, and Chris Sabin. The three would meet next.

X-Division Championship
TNA X-Division 'The Fallen Angel' Champion Christopher Daniels vs. Michael Shane (w/ Traci Brooks) vs. Chris Sabin (w/ Trinity) 

Fought under elimination rules, this triple threat match was every bit as good as you might expect it to be.

Though not exactly a classic for the ages, it was certainly a very, very good X-Division match.

Towards the half-way point, Shelley had the choice to either finish off Michael Shane or rescue Trinity from the evil clutches of Christopher Daniels. He chose to eliminate Shane from the competition, prompting Daniels to hit Trinity with Angels Wings.

Poor Trinity was then helped backstage and that was the last we'd see of her on tonight's show which was a shame because, well, she looked smoking hot.

Anyway, that left it down to just Sabin and Daniels, both of whom gave us a very solid effort before The Fallen Angel picked up the three count.
Your Winner and Still X-Division Champion: Christopher Daniels 

Out in the back, Shane Douglas interviewed The Alpha Male Monty Brown about his participation in the upcoming King of the Mountain match.

Weirdly charismatic, Monty called all of his opponents 'Omega males' and promised to demolish them in our main event.

Speaking of which...

NWA World Heavyweight Championship King of the Moutain Match
NWA World Heavyweight Champion AJ Styles vs. Abyss vs. The Alpha Male Monty Brown vs. Raven vs. Sean Waltman 

If you've never seen a King of the Mountain match before, it's essentially a reverse-ladder match in that, instead of using the ladder to retrieve the title belt, you use it to go hang the belt up.

Oh, but in order to be eligible to hang the belt, you first have to pin somebody or make them submit, and the person you pin or submit then has to go spend two minutes in a "penalty  box."

Though it sounds like a silly idea that is way more complicated than it needs to be, this actually turned into a very fun main event.

A wild, out of control brawl in the best possible sense of the word, this one just had all five men destroying each other.

Highlights included Waltman hitting the X-Factor on Style from atop the ladder, and Styles himself hitting a top-rope Spiral Tap to Abyss, who was lying prone on a table outside of the ring.

Still, despite such big-time offence, this wasn't to be the champion's night.

Battered and bloodied, Raven eventually scaled the ladder, hung the title, and became our new champion.
Your Winner and NEW NWA Champion: Raven

Post-match, Raven basically meandered around the ringside area with his new title belt, looking genuinely moved to have won.




And so that was that. 

While TNA Slammiversary 2005 wasn't the worse show ever, it was far from the best either. 

If you're a fan of the company's X-Division style then you'll find a lot to like here. Between the X-Division title match, the tag team title match and the Shelley/Shocker outing, TNA gave us lots of quality action. 

Not that the main event was a letdown. Despite being more of a hardcore-style match (at one point, Waltman went around stapling people's balls) than a cruiserweight or technical wrestling classic, it was a fun match and the perfect way to end the show. 

For as long as TNA have this on YouTube it's worth watching, just don't expect the greatest show of all time or anything. 




Be the first to catch the latest Retro Pro Wrestling reviews by following on Facebook or Twitter @RetroPWrestling.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

PPV REVIEW: WCW Uncensored 1999

WCW Uncensored 1999 - Event poster
March 14, 1999
Freedom Hall, Louisville, Kentucky

If ever there was an annual event which so perfectly encapsulated all the worst aspects of World Championship Wrestling, it was Uncensored. 

It was at Uncensored 1996 that the company gave us the Doomsday Cage Match, an event which is still talked about today as the ultimate embodiment of all things Wrestlecrap.

1997 fared a little better, but still gave us a horribly convoluted Three Team Elimination match between Team Piper, Team WCW and Team nWo, whilst in 1998 we had the awful Randy Savage vs. Hulk Hogan cage match.

Still, as we discussed in that 1998 Uncensored review, things had been starting to look better thanks to a very solid undercard.

So, if nothing else, there was hope that this year's event might just be the one to break the Uncensored curse and finally give fans a good show from top to bottom.






Did it manage it?

Or was this yet to be another example of all that was terrible about World Championship Wrestling?

Let's head to Louisville, Kentucky, to find out.

The Most Mindboggling Pay Per View of the Year

WCW Uncensored 1999 - Iron Mike Tenay, Tony Schiavone, and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan
We began tonight's show with an ominous opening video which reminded that tonight's main event would be a First Blood Barbed Wire Cage Match for the WCW World Heavyweight Championship between reigning champion Hollywood Hogan and WCW President Nature Boy Ric Flair.

And you thought using blood and OTT gimmicks to disguise the fact that they could no longer go was something Flair and Hogan only did during their TNA run.

Anyway, from there, we got the usual welcome from Tony Schiavone, Mike Tenay and Bobby 'The Brain' Heenan.

Schiavone told us that this was "the most unpredictable, the most dangerous, the most mindboggling pay per view of the year" and that several of the matches would have "bizarre" stipulations.

I'm not sure if anybody told Tony, but "mindboggling" isn't exactly a good thing.

In true WCW fashion, we next went to Mean Gene Okerlund, who reminded us that because of these "bizarre" stipulations, all of tonight's matches were unsanctioned. Apparently, WCW didn't want anything to do with the actual matches, but were still willing to pay for the arena, the staff, and the marketing, and were willing to have their name all over things.

After Gene shilled 1-900 909 9900, we got a quick video hyping the upcoming Kevin Nash vs. Rey Mysterio Jr. match before finally, almost six minutes into the broadcast, we got down to ringside.

World Championship Wrestling Cruiserweight Championship
WCW Cruiserweight Champion Billy Kidman vs. Mikey Whipreck

WCW Uncensored 1999 - Mikey Whipwreck vs. Billy Kidman
Known and beloved as a staple of Extreme Championship Wrestling, Mikey Whipwreck was making his WCW on tonight's show, challenging Billy Kidman for the cruiserweight title.

Whipwreck was so new that he didn't even get entrance music.

He was also booed loudly by the Kentucky faithful, though I honestly couldn't tell you whether that was because they hated the fact that he was from ECW or simply loved his opponent way more.

Either way, heel challenger vs. babyface champion worked incredibly well here.

Harking back to a time when WCW would kick off its PPVs with what would often prove to be one of the best matches on the show, this was a solid, fast-paced, high impact cruiserweight match that delivered on every count.

After some terrific back-and-forth action, Kidman landed the shooting star press to retain the gold.
Your Winner and Still WCW Cruiserweight Champion: Billy Kidman

Up next, we were about to get a match for control of nWo Black and White. If you needed any indication as to how little that stable actually mattered, the match was between Stevie Ray and Vincent.

A brief video showed us that Hollywood Hogan had been stirring trouble by telling both men separately that they were the nWo Black and White leader and that they should beat the other guy up.

The video also showed us clips of Stevie Ray calling Vincent a "roody poo fruit booty" and Vincent responding by telling us he was about to beat Stevie Ray from project to project.

Harlem Street Fight for Control of nWo Black and White
Stevie Ray vs. Vincent

WCW Uncensored 1999 - Vincent faced Stevie Ray for control over NWO Black & White
Second only to his big match against Ted Dibiase at Summerslam 1991, this may well have been the best match Vincent ever had in his entire career.

That's not to say it was a classic or anything, but it was good, at least by Virgil standards.

Using the no-holds-barred stipulation to its full effect, both Vince and Stevie went brawling through the crowds and crashing into chairs before returning to the ring for some bog standard offence.

Towards the end, Horace Hogan ran in and threw a Slap Jack into the ring before turning to the camera and telling us that he didn't care which one of the two combatants used it because, in actual fact, it was he, Horace, who was the real leader of the nWo.

Vincent tried to use Slap Jack the weapon, but Stevie countered with Slap Jack the move (a pedigree) to win the match.

Again, I'm not saying this was great, just great by Vincent vs. Stevie Ray standards.
Your Winner: Stevie Ray

Out in the Internet Location, Chris Jericho told Mark Madden and That Other Guy Who Looked a Bit Like a Fat Jonathan Coachman that he was ready for Perry Saturn.

For some reason, Madden was sucking up to Jericho big time.

Kevin Nash (w/ Lex Luger & Miss Elizabeth) vs. Rey Mysterio Jr

WCW Uncensored 1999 - Kevin Nash vs. Rey Mysterio
Back at Superbrawl IX, Rey Mysterio Jr. had lost a Mask vs. Miss Elizabeth's hair match to Kevin Nash.

Though nobody had wanted to see Mysterio lose, the actual match had been pretty fun.

The novelty of seeing Nash throw his smaller opponent around like a ragdoll was certainly entertaining, as was the sight of Mysterio using his quickness to take Big Sexy off his feet.

One month later, however, and the novelty had worn off.

Since Superbrawl, Mysterio had been on a winning streak, toppling men twice his size such as Bam Bam Bigelow and even Nash himself, in a return match on Nitro.

Tonight, his luck would run out in a disappointing match against the Wolfpac leader.

Rey took charge in the early going, but their timing was so off that Nash's selling looked fake as hell and really made suspension of disbelief impossible.

Later, Big Sexy gained the upper hand and decimated his opponent, but it was no longer as fun as it had been back at Superbrawl.

Towards the finish, Rey attempted a comeback, but Lex Luger tripped him up.

Nash planted Rey into the mat, and this one was -thankfully- over.
Your Winner: Kevin Nash

WCW Uncensored 1999 - Hardcore Hak
Coming up, we'd have an ECW reunion with Raven meeting Hardcore Hak (Sandman) and Bam Bam Bigelow in a three-way dance.

Next, we got a video package splicing clips of the three men attacking each other with promos in which they each promised just to prove that they were more hardcore and extreme than the other two.

At no point did any man claim that they were going to win. Apparently, that wasn't important here.

The video -and the announcers- made you believe that said match was next, but it wasn't.

What was next involved Mr Personality, Jerry Flynn.

Handicap match
Jerry Flynn vs. Ernest 'The Cat' Miller & w/ Sonny Onoo

WCW Uncensored 1999 - Jerry Lynn vs. Ernest 'The Cat' Miller
This was billed as a handicap match but was, as you might imagine, basically Ernest Miller vs. Jerry Flynn with Sonny Onoo occasionally providing comedy spots in his role as the cowardly heel manager.

The Cat spent almost the entirety of the match beating up on Flynn. You'd assume this was to try and get some crowd sympathy for ol' Lightning Foot so that they could cheer him on towards his inevitable comeback.

The problem was that not a single member of the audience seemed to care a lot about Flynn, so the whole thing fell flat.

In the end, Jerry reversed an Irish whip, sent The Cat crashing into Sonny Onoo then pinned Onoo and got the win.

Even then, nobody cared.
Your Winner: Jerry Flynn

WCW Uncensored 1999 - WCW Tag Team Champions Barry Windham & Curt Hennig
Later, we'd be having a match in which Curt Hennig and Barry Windham would be defending the WCW tag team titles against rivals Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko.

Following the result of their last meeting at Superbrawl, in which Windham had choked Malenko with his belt, this match would have something to do with whipping each other with belts, but the rules weren't exactly made clear here.

What was made clear, thanks to two promo clips from the competitors, was that neither team liked the other one very much and that somebody was going to get whipped with a belt.

"Raven's Rules" Hardcore Triangle match
Bam Bam Bigelow vs. Hardcore Hak vs. Raven (w/ Chastity)

If you happen to watch this on the WWE Network and wonder why Hak's theme sounds familiar, it's because it used to belong to Retro Pro Wrestling favourite Steve 'Mongo' McMichael.

Having made it to the ring, the ECW icon went to war with Bam Bam and Raven in an enjoyable weapons match which, aside from the occasional table spot, basically featured all three men attacking each other with trash cans and assorted plunder for the better part of fifteen minutes.


Though garbage matches aren't really this writer's usual cup of tea, this actually came as a welcome change of pace from the typical WCW fare and was a lot of fun to watch.

After a good bit of ECW-inspired, weapon-based entertainment, Chastity turned on her "brother" Raven by blasting him in the face with a fire extinguisher and headbutting him in the nuts.

Hak made the cover and, three seconds later, walked out as the victor with Chastity on his arm.
Your Winner: Hardcore Hak

As the ring crew cleaned up the ring of all the weapons, we spent some time with Tenay, Schiavone, and Heenan.

As Tenay and Tony talked, Bobby turned around to look at the audience and was admonished by Schiavone for it.

That only seemed to piss off The Brain, who completely turned his back to the camera and spent most of the rest of the segment like that.

"You're paid to be an announcer not to pout," said Schiavone.
"I am announcing. I don't get paid to be talked to like that," replied The Brain.

This was 100% unscripted and 100% awkward.

World Championship Wrestling World Tag Team Championship Lumberjack Match
WCW Tag Team Champions Barry Windham & Curt Hennig vs. Dean Malenko & Chris Benoit

WCW Uncensored 1999 - WCW Tag Team Champions Barry Windham & Curt Hennig face Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko
So, we finally got the thing with the belts cleared up:

Prior to the match, the likes of Prince Iuakea, Meng, Kenny Kaos, Gentleman Chris Adams, Kendal Windham and Hugh Morrus (among others) came out to serve as lumberjacks.

They were all brandishing leather belts that they could use to whip the combatants if they strayed outside of the ring.

The lumberjacks were all topless and wearing jeans too as if they needed some kind of uniform to stand around the ring.

At one point, Tenay acknowledged that Kendal and Barry Windham were brothers and that this might play a role in the match. It did, but it was so subtle and ultimately underplayed that it didn't seem to matter.

As for the match itself, it was far better than their laborious Superbrawl outing and by far one of the best matches on this card by a million miles.

All four men worked their asses off. Combined with the lumberjack stipulation, it made for a terrific match that was a joy to watch.

The finish came about thanks to Benoit & Malenko's Four Horsemen mentor, Arn Anderson. At the start of the match, Arn Anderson came to the ring and convinced Chris Adams to give up his place as lumberjack so that he (Anderson) could take it.

At the finish, Anderson blasted Curt Hennig with his trusty tire iron. Benoit then did the Flying Headbutt of Doom and brought the titles home to the Horsemen.
Your Winners and NEW WCW Tag Team Champions: Chris Benoit & Dean Malenko

From one gimmick match to another...

Dog Collar Match
Perry Saturn vs. Chris Jericho

Since losing a Loser Must Wear a Dress match to Chris Jericho back at Souled Out 1999, Saturn had been doing just that, embracing the role of a cross-dressing pro wrestler with aplomb and showing that he wasn't afraid to run around in a dress.

Tonight, however, he wore not a dress but some kind of gothic, PVC skirt, black lipstick and yellow contact lenses.


Meanwhile, Jericho tried to get Ralphus to wear the dog collar instead. When he refused, Jericho slapped him and sent him packing.

When the two combatants did finally lock up, the resultant match was...Well, it was kind of meh.

I'm not sure there's ever technically been any such thing as a bad Chris Jericho match, but this was about as close as you'll probably ever get to such a thing existing.

Having been so worked up for the earlier tag title match, the crowd were spent and lifeless, and nothing Jericho and Saturn seemed to do could revive them.

Sure, there were some fun spots here and there, but there was also a lot of dead time where both men just seemed like they were figuring out how to best use the dog collar.

Eventually, Saturn hit the DVD to end this disappointment of a match.
Your Winner: Perry Saturn

Out in the Internet Location, Mikey Whipreck told Mark Madden that, despite his loss to Billy Kidman earlier, he was happy with his performance.

Whipreck said some other stuff too, but the sound quality was so poor that it was hard to tell exactly what it was he said.

World Championship Wrestling World Television Championship
WCW Television Champion Scott Steiner (w/ Buff Bagwell) vs. Booker T

WCW Uncensored 1999 - Booker T beat Scott Steiner for the TV title
Scott Steiner was doing a gimmick where he basically had roid rage all the time and everyone except for Booker T and his ally, Buff Bagwell, were scared of him.

He was on form here, yelling at everyone in sight in between putting on a solid match for the TV title.

Though not exactly match of the night, this was one of the better bouts on the card - a true seesaw battle between two main-eventers-in-the-making that saw Booker T eventually recapture the TV title.
Your Winner and NEW WCW Television Champion: Booker T

Finally, after another typically cheesy WCW promo that showed us the steel cage being built for tonight's main event, it was on to said main event.

First Blood Barbed Wire Cage Match for the World Championship Wrestling World Heavyweight Championship
WCW World Heavyweight Champion Hollywood Hulk Hogan vs. Nature Boy Ric Flair

WCW Uncensored 1999 - WCW Champion Hulk Hogan faced Ric Flair in a First Blood Barbed Wire Cage Match
If Ric Flair wins, he becomes our new champion and remains WCW President for life. If, however, he loses, then he's banned from WCW for life. Sorry to spoil the ending for you.
If you thought all the stipulations were a lot to contend with, just wait until we get down to the match itself which was, in a word, dumb.

After making his entrance, Flair told referee Charles Robinson that he shouldn't stop the match for a small cut here or there, but rather to use his discretion. The idea was that the referee should only cut the match if one man deliberately busted the other open, not if they accidentally got cut in the course of the match.

Robinson, however, used "his discretion" a little too liberally.

Flair got busted open by Hogan in the first five minutes of the match.

Robison ignored it.

Hogan then cut Flair open with some barbed wire then raked his head across the cage like he was grating cheese.

Robinson ignored both of those things too.

With blood literally dripping from his forehead, Flair eventually -blatantly- bust Hogan open, but Robinson ignored that too.

Later, Hogan began to be cheered loudly and fell back into the babyface role with ease. He kept trying to pin Flair, only for Charles Robinson to remind him that this was a first blood match...This despite the fact that both men were clearly bleeding heavily.

David Flair and Tori Wilson put in a cameo, though David was beaten up by Arn Anderson, who then slipped Flair a tire iron. Flair used it, slapped Hogan in the figure four, and Charles Robison counted to three.

It was literally the most ridiculous way to end a pro wrestling event since Starrcade 1997.
Your Winner and NEW 14 Time WCW Champion: Nature Boy Ric Flair

And that was basically that. Flair celebrated to end the show.





Right up until the main event, I was prepared to give Uncensored 1999 a decent grade. Sure, some matches fell short, but the opening cruiserweight match, the tag team championship and even the TV championship all made for an entertaining show.

Then the main event happened, and it was just stupid. Both men were clearly, visibly bleeding, but that wasn't enough to stop a first blood match? 

OK then. 

Seriously, this was Tower of Doom cage match kinds of terrible, which is a shame really, because if it had just been a normal cage match then the actual interactions between Hogan and Flair would have made for a reasonably entertaining main event. 

Still, at least we only have one more Uncensored show left to review, right? 




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Thursday, 7 March 2019

PPV Review: AAA When World's Collide 1994

AAA When World's Collide 1994 review
November 6, 1994
Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena, Los Angeles, California

I won’t lie to you, at one point, AAA When World’s Collide 94 was my favourite PPV of all time.

I loved it even more than I loved In Your House 16: Canadian Stampede, and I loved that show pretty hard.

But alas, it’s been absolutely years since I’ve seen this show, a collaboration between the AAA promotion in Mexico and World Championship Wrestling which is often referred to as the first time American audiences had been exposed to the Lucha Libre style of pro wrestling.

The show was notable for a couple of other firsts.






With Eric Bischoff helping the show get broadcast on American PPV and using his company’s crew to produce it, When World’s Collide marked the commentary debut of Mike Tenay and also the first time a non-US wrestling company had been shown on American PPV.

Does it still hold up as being every bit as good as I remember it?

Let’s head to the Los Angeles Memorial Sports Arena to find out.

It’s The Wrestling Style That’s Sweeping The Nation

AAA When World's Collide 1994 - Chris Cruise & Atura Rivera
We began tonight with a really dramatic, super excited voiceover telling us all about the matches on tonight’s card, including a steel cage match between ‘the much loved Perro Aguayo and the much hated Konnan.’

I say it like that because that’s how the announcers said it, over and over again throughout the entire show. Honestly, by the time the match got underway later, you were absolutely sick of hearing about the much loved Perro Aguayo and the much hated Konnan.

But hey, that’s a small niggle.

From there, we went to the ring, where Chris Cruise told us that we were about to be introduced to the wrestling style that was taking the nation by storm and that later we’d see, you guessed it, the much loved Perro Aguayo taking on the much hated Konnan.

Told ya.

Next, Cruise handed over to his Spanish announce team colleague Arturo Rivera. I didn’t catch much of what Rivera said, but I know it had something to do with the much loved...ah, forget it.

Minis Match
Mascarita Sagrada & Octagoncito vs. Espectrito & Jerrito Estra

AAA When World's Collide 1994 - Espectrito
We’ve seen some of these mini wrestlers before on Retro Pro Wrestling.

Octagoncito would later appear as Mosaic, teaming with Espectrito (known in the WWF as Tarantula) against Max Mini and Nova at Badd Blood: In Your House. Weirdly, both Mini and Nova had played Mascarita Sagrada, but it was Nova in the role here.

Phew, that was confusing.

Anyway, while that match very much felt like a special attraction (‘hey! These guys are SMALL!’) this just felt like a regular tag team match with competitors who just happened to be on the short side.

That made for a very fun opening contest, with the larger rudos using their size and strength against the smaller technicos’ speed and agility.

With plenty of high flying, an abundance of charisma from Espectrito especially and great commentary from Cruise and Tenay, this was the perfect way to kick off the show.

After a good back and forth, the technicos flipped, flopped and flew their way to a win.
Your Winners: Mascarita Sagrada and Octagoncito

After a quick recap and a few moments of Cruise and Tenay telling us that AAA was becoming one of the hottest promotions in the world, it was onto our next match.

Fuerza Guerrera, Madonna's Boyfriend, and Psicosis vs. Rey Mysterio, Jr., Heavy Metal, and Latin Lover

AAA When World's Collide 1994 - Rey Mysterio gets ready to jump Madonna's Boyfriend
Up next, Louis ‘Madonna’s Boyfriend’ Spicolli teamed with future WCW star Psicosis and Fuerza Guerrera to take on Latin Lover, Heavy Metal and a young Rey Mysterio Jr., or Rey Misterio as he was known here.

Back in 1994, Mysterio far from the global superstar we know him as today, but he certainly showed all the signs that he could become was as he bounced around the ring and allowed himself to serve as fodder for his larger opponents.

At one point, Madonna’s Boyfriend picked up Mysterio and launched him into the fourth row of the audience, and that wasn’t even the biggest or best spot of the match.

With a wealth of non-stop action, this was even better than the minis match which came before it.

At least it was until the ending, when Guerrera kind of just sat on Heavy Metal’s shoulders and made him tap out.
Your Winners: Fuerza Guerrera, Madonna’s Boyfriend and Psicosis

Afterwards, the victors beat up on Heavy Metal.

IWC vs. AAA
Pegasus Kid, Tito Santana, and 2 Cold Scorpio vs. Blue Panther, AAA Light Heavyweight Champion La Parka, and Jerry Estrada

AAA When World's Collide 1994 - La Parka & 2 Cold Scorpio square off
Though it moved at a slower pace than the previous two matches, the sheer amount of talent involved meant that this match was never in danger of being anything less than good stuff.

Tito Santana was putting in his first PPV appearance since Summerslam 1992. The announcers told us that despite his Mexican heritage, the amount of time he had spent working in the US meant he was the one wrestler least familiar with the Lucha Libre style.

The real story of the match, however, involved the increasing dissension between teammates La Parka and Jerry Estrada.

The two just could not get along, and at one point even fought over which one of them got to pin 2 Cold Scorpio.

Alas, neither of them did, as it was Chris Benoit who got the three count.

Despite being officially billed as Pegasus Kid, the announcers quickly dropped that and just referred to him by his real name.

After another very good match, Benoit reversed a Blue Panther powerbomb and picked up the win for his team.
Your Winners: Pegasus Kid, 2 Cold Scorpio and Tito Santana

Moving on, we came to the one match your writer was really looking forward to the most on this show.

Double Hair vs. Double Mask (Two out of three falls)
Octagón & El Hijo del Santo (w/ Blue Panther) vs. AAA World Tag Team Champions La Pareja del Terror (Love Machine Art Barr & Eddie Guerrero w/ Madonna’s Boyfriend)

AAA When World's Collide 1994 - Art Barr cuts Eddie Guerrero's hair
Given a five star rating by Dave Meltzer back in the day, this double hair vs. double mask match more than lives up to its reputation as one of the best matches of 1994, if not of the 1990s.

With a white hot crowd firmly behind Octagón and El Hijo Del Santo, and with Eddie Guerrero and Art Barr proving themselves to be masters at making the same crowd absolutely despise them, the atmosphere surrounding this match was absolutely electric - the kind of atmosphere most modern wrestlers could only dream of.

The action itself was crisp, smooth and flawless, but t was the drama and the story that really took this one from being a good match to a truly great one.

Guerrero and Barr battered and bullies their way to the first fall (having to pin both men for it to count) before Octagón beautifully evened the score by flying off an Art Barr backdrop to ‘rana Guerrero and get the pin then immediately wrapping Barr in a submission.

It was in the third fall when things got really interesting.

With the referee’s back turned, Barr hit Octagón with a devastating tombstone piledriver.

The piledriver was banned in Lucha Libre (or at least in AAA) because it was such a violent move, and they sold it perfectly here. It was so violent, so brutal that it took Octagón right out of the match and needing a stretcher, but not before Barr got the three count on him.

In the ring, with the referee still distracted, Blue Panther hit Barr with a piledriver of his own.

Santo got the pin, meaning it all came down to him and Guerrero in a gripping, next-fall-takes-all fight to the finish.

After an exhilarating back and forth, Santo got the win over Eddie, saving his and his partner’s masks.
Your Winners: Octagón and El Hijo del Santo

Post-match, Octagón was stretchered into an ambulance as Eddie and Art cut each other’s hair, hamming it up in perfect heel fashion.

Art then headed to the back, cursing like a sailor the whole way.

Sadly, this was to be his last major appearance. Art Barr would pass away just 17 days after this show.

For years after, his partner Eddie would use the frog splash, once Barr’s patented move, as his finisher in tribute to the late great Love Machine. I like to think that when people do the frog splash in tribute to Eddie these days, they’re also paying homage to Barr.

Let’s Get it On

On a lighter note, it was time for our main event, which meant that we got Mike Tenay and Atura Rivera in the ring to introduce it.

In the space between the two matches, Chris Cruise reminder us about the show we’d seen and told us that we could expect to see Rey Mysterio Jr at the top of the sport for ‘the next 20-30 years.’

Oh how right he was.

We also saw Eddie backstage getting his headshaved before finally, the cage was lowered to the ring complete with pyro and flashing lights.

Steel Cage Match
Perro Aguayo vs. Konnan

AAA When World's Collide 1994 - Perro Aguyo beat Konnan in a cage match
Though neither Konnan not Aguayo had the athleticism of the wrestlers that went before them, they were still able to use what they had to deliver a compelling, story-driven main event.

Proving why he was much hated, dastardly heel Konnan took control of the match and began abusing his older opponent, pushing him into the cage and busting him wide open.

At one point, Eddie Guerrero and Madonna’s Boyfriend came out, passing Konnan some brass knuckles which he used to basically turn Aguayo into a bloody mess.

Yet just when it looked like all hope was lost, Los Hermanas Dinamita ran in to even the score, giving Aguayo all the motivation he needed to mount a glorious comeback.

Hitting Konnan with a double stomp off the top rope, a battered and bloody Aguayo climbed out of the cage and won the match.
Your Winner: Perro Aguayo

Afterwards, with blood streaming down his face and chest, Aguayo celebrated with the Mexican flag, bringing to an end.






So, was When World’s Collide as good as I remember it from all those years ago?

In a word, yes.

Yes it was.

A true all-killer, no-filler show, this may have featured only five matches, but every match was of terrific quality.

The Double Hair vs. Double Mark match was undoubtedly the highlight of the night, if not of the entire year of 1994.

A truly gripping, must-see contest, the match served as a fitting farewell for the Love Machine.

Elsewhere, if you want to see any number of talented performers before they became super well known on an American stage, or if you just like great Lucha Libre, then When World’s Collide is essential viewing.




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Thursday, 28 February 2019

PPV REVIEW: NWA-TNA: Weekly PPV #1

NWA: TNA - First Ever Event - NWA-TNA logo
June 19th, 2002
Von Braun Civic Center, Huntsville, Alabama

At the time that I first sat down to write this review, All Elite Wrestling had just announced their arrival on the pro wrestling landscape.

In the eyes of many fans, the new promotion looked to be the biggest threat to WWE's global dominance since World Championship Wrestling's game-changing run at the height of the Monday Night Wars.

Indeed, while many companies have come and many more have gone, Vince McMahon's sports entertainment empire has gone relatively unchallenged for the better part of 20 years.






Though it wasn't always this way.

A year after the company's demise, WCW's former World Champion Jeff Jarrett found himself without a job and without any chance of getting another run in WWE thanks to a falling out with McMahon a few years earlier.

So he teamed up with father Jerry Jarrett to form a new start-up promotion, NWA: TNA.

Though the future would prove to have other ideas for them, TNA at first looked to be the best chance any company had of replicating WCW's success against WWE and establishing themselves as the number two -if not number one- pro wrestling company in America.

Over 15 years later, and despite countless management and roster changes -not to mention countless rumours of their imminent demise- TNA are still alive and kicking, now formally under the name of Impact Wrestling.

Though no longer a threat to WWE, and though their status as America's number two has likely already surpassed by All Elite Wrestling, Impact do still have a healthy following, and to celebrate passing two million YouTube subscribers, the company posted the company's first ever show online in its entirety.


And so, with nothing better to do on a rainy Sunday morning, we head back to 2002, when it was NWA: TNA, and not AEW, who were the Next Great Hope for professional wrestling.

History in the Making 

NWA: TNA - First Ever Event - Don West, Mike Tenay, and Ed Ferarra call the action
After all the pomp and fireworks, a rather svelte (compared to later years) Don West came bursting down the entrance way and welcomed us to the show as two strippers gyrated in cages at either side of the entrance.

West next introduced us to one of his co-announcers for tonight's show, Ed Ferrara. Last seen on TV doing a terrible and ill-received impression of Jim Ross back in WCW, Ferrara came out doing a new impression:

That of a sleazy, middle-aged man in the throes of a mid-life crisis. Sporting long dreadlocks down to his ass and wearing leather pants and a leather coat, Ferrara looked ridiculous.

He sounded even more ridiculous when he told us that he was here for TNA, not just Total Non-Stop Action but, you know, TNA.

Finally, Ed and West took their seats either side of lead announcer Mike Tenay who had opted not to draw attention to himself like Ed and Don had (West was wearing a garish Hawaiian shirt) but rather to don the traditional uniform of the pro wrestling pay-per-view announcer: The tuxedo.

Tenay, whose familiar voice already leant an air of credibility to proceedings, told us that tonight was all about history. It was about respecting the history of the National Wrestling Alliance, and also about creating history with the first TNA broadcast.

Iron Mike talked to Ed and Don about tonight's Gauntlet for the Gold match in which we'd crown a new NWA Champion. From the way Tenay explained it, the match was basically a convoluted Battle Royal, a bit like a Royal Rumble that would turn into a singles match between the last two men standing.

The Legends are Here...And the Main Event Sucks

NWA: TNA - First Ever Event - Ricky 'The Dragon' Steamboat and the NWA legends present the TNA title
With the intros out of the way, we next went to the ring where Jeramy Borash and his bleached-blonde highlights were on hand to welcome the legends of the National Wrestling Alliance to the ring.

Harley Race, Dory Funk Jr, Jackie Fargo, Corsica Joe and his wife, and NWA committee member Bill Behrens were all introduced before, finally, Ricky Steamboat came out with the NWA Championship.

Taking to the mic, Steamboat did an incredible job of making the title seem like the most important thing in the world, putting over its heritage, history and what a valuable prize it was in the world of pro wrestling. If you were ever going to get fans excited about your main event title match, this was the way to do it.

Of course, one way not to get fans excited would be to have some of the biggest stars competing in that main event come out and tell everybody how stupid the match was...

Which is exactly what TNA did net.

First up, Jeff Jarrett interrupted Steamboat. In kayfabe, Jarrett was just another member of the roster. Jarrett's very first on-screen act in his new company was to tell us all what a bad idea the main event was. Irrate at the introduction, Jackie Fargo took to the mic and, in his capacity as a member of the NWA Championship Committee (or something to that effect), declared that Jarrett was to be the first entrant in tonight's Gauntlet for the Gold.

NWA: TNA - First Ever Event - Ken Shamrock promises to win the TNA Championship
Next, Jarrett was interrupted by The World's Most Dangerous Man, Ken Shamrock.

Receiving a rousing ovation from the crowd, Shamrock agreed with Jarrett, even going so far as to tell us that the main event "sucked."

Still, despite it sucking, Shamrock had entered the match and told us that he'd drawn number 19.

Finally, a healthy-looking Scott Hall strolled through the crowd and repeated Shamrock's statement that the main event sucked but that he was entering anyway.

Having spent the very first real segment in TNA taking a huge dump over their own main event, everybody kind of just left as we cut backstage.

Puppet the Psycho Dwarf Wants Midget Blood

NWA: TNA - First Ever Event - Goldy Locks interviews Puppet the Psycho Dwarf
Out in the back, Goldy Locks introduced us to a man she called a "midget killer," Puppet The Psycho Dwarf.

Clearly, out his mind, Puppet ranted and raved about how midgets were the true backbone of America and as such he wanted to see them in the opening match so that he could see some "midget blood."

Before things could get any more insane, Puppet and Goldy were interrupted by a pissed-off Jeff Jarrett, who was seen storming past and kicking things over while cursing to himself about Jackie Fargo.

I've no idea what that was.

Six Man Tag:
AJ Styles, Low Ki, and Jerry Lynn vs. The Flying Elvises (Jorge Estrada, Sonny Siaki, and Jimmy Yang)

NWA: TNA - First Ever Event - AJ Styles, Low Ki, and Jerry Lynn face The Flying Elvises
More than living up to their name, Total Non-Stop Action delivered with their first ever televised match, a lightning-fast six-man battle designed to showcase the company's X-Division.

After a refusing a handshake, The Flying Elvises firmly established themselves as heels by attacking their opponents in the opening moments, but it was AJ Styles, Low Ki, and Jerry Lynn, especially Lynn, who were the real stars here.

The babyfaces looked mightily impressive as they each took turns to showcase their unique offence, battling Jorge Estrada, Sonny Siaki and former Jung Dragon, Jimmy Yang, in a very exciting opening contest.

Yet despite their best efforts, it just wasn't to be for Styles, Ki, and Lynn. After an exhilarating match, Jimmy Yang came flying off the top rope to hit AJ with the Yang Time and picked up the three count, earning him the distinct honour of being the first man to score a pinfall on any TNA televised broadcast.
Your Winners: The Flying Elvises 

After a brief clip of TNA's sexy dancers sexy dancing inside stripper cages, it was onto our next match.

Midget Match
Hollywood vs. Teo

NWA: TNA - First Ever Event - Teo beat Hollywood
To be honest, your writer wasn't expecting anything more than a farcical comedy routine here and was pleasantly surprised when Teo and Hollywood used the two or three minutes they were allotted to deliver a surprisingly fun bout.

Though I'm trying desperately to avoid using the word short, there's no way around it. This was a very short match, but also very enjoyable, and ended when Teo hit Hollywood with a twisting senton for the three count.
Your Winner: Teo

After more dancing ladies we got...more ladies.

Francine Vows to Become Miss TNA

Out in the ring, Don West and Ed Ferrara introduced the ladies who would be competing in the following week's Lingerie Battle Royal. The competitors included, among others, ECW stars Francine and Electra, Daffney and a young Alexis Laree, better known to you and me as Mickie James.

NWA: TNA - First Ever Event - Alexis Laree (Mickie James) looks on as Francine reminds us she's the Queen of Extreme
With all the girls in the ring, Francine grabbed the mic to remind us that she was the Queen of Extreme, and that, as such, nobody else was worthy of being in the ring with her.

That prompted Electra to stand up and accuse Francine of "singlehandedly bankrupting another company (ECW)". Irrate at the clearly false accusation, Francine lunged after Electra and a small catfight ensued, resulting in Francine ripping Electra's top off to expose her bra. Finally, as she left the ring, Francine vowed that she would win the battle royal next week and be crowned our first Miss TNA.

I'm not sure if this was supposed to be sexy or just entertaining, but it ended up being neither.

Mortimer Plumtree Introduces The Johnsons 

Out in the back, Goldy Locks was standing by with manager Mortimer Plumtree.

NWA: TNA - First Ever Event - Goldy Locks interviews Mortimer Plumtree
Plumtree told us that he had complete control over two men who he was bringing to TNA. Those men?

The Johnsons.

Though the whole idea of The Johnsons was stupid (their whole thing was quite literally one big dick joke), Plumtree was actually pretty compelling as the wimpy manager with delusions of power who gets others to do his work for him.

It's such a shame they combined his natural charisma with such a terrible, terrible gimmick.

The Johnsons (Richard & Rod w/ Mortimer Plumtree) vs. Psicosis & Cowboy James Storm

Imagine having it on your resume that at some point in your past you were a wrestling penis.

NWA: TNA - First Ever Event - Mortimer Plumtree celebrates with The Johnsons
As Richard and Rod (puns very much intended) made their way to the ring, the camera shot to two very young children giving them the thumbs down. I don't need to tell you how troubling that shot is.

Here, the masked dicks took on former WCW star Psicosis and long-time TNA mainstay, Cowboy James Storm in a decent though occasionally sloppy match.

The young, clean-shaven Cowboy James Storm looked a million miles away from the grizzled, beer-drinking veteran we know him as today, especially when he brought out two pistols and fired a couple of blanks in his best impersonation of The Smoking Gunns.

Together with Psicosis, the future TNA champion looked impressive in his debut but sadly wasn't able to avoid a good pounding from a couple of Johnsons.

Yeah, I'm sorry, I went there.
Your Winners: The Johnsons 

Part way through the match, Aleesha (better known as Alicia Webb/Ryan Shamrock) came out to watch the proceedings. Post-match, she had a word with referee Slick Johnson (no relation to Richard and Rod), who then gave her some money and walked off.

Out in the back, Goldy Locks caught up with The Dupps, were told off by Bill Behrens for drinking beer in the locker room.

This is Pro Wrestling, Not NASCAR

NWA: TNA - First Ever Event - K-Krush (R-Truth) confronts some NASCAR drivers
Up next, Jeramy Borash introduced NASCAR drivers Hermie Saddler and Sterling Marlin, interviewing both men about NASCAR racing. Having heard enough, K-Krush (Ron 'R-Truth' Killings) came out and said what we were all thinking:

"Nobody cares about NASCAR, this is pro wrestling."

An angry Krush got into it with Saddler and threatened to attack him, only for Brian 'Christopher' Lawler to run out and see off K-Krush, challenging him to a match on next week's show.

Out in the back, a gaggle of referees and jobbers in security T-shirts had to stop Jeff Jarrett from choking out Jackie Fargo.

Christian York & Joey Matthews vs. The Dupps (Stan & Bo w/ Fluff) 

The story here is that Stan, Bo, and Fluff were all cousins, but Fluff was also both Stan & Bo's girlfriend. OK, so it was another dumb idea on a show that seemed to have many, but I won't lie, if Fluff was my cousin, I'd at least be tempted.

NWA: TNA - First Ever Event - The Dups
Here, they went up against Christian York and future Straight Edge Society member, Joey Matthews.

Though not a great match by any stretch, there was nothing particularly bad about this. It was perfectly acceptable mid-card filler which came to an end with a victory for the incestuous cousins.
Your Winners: The Dups 

As if the NASCAR stuff wasn't enough to give the show a decidedly southern feel, we were next shown a clip from a Toby Keith music video before the man himself was introduced live to the arena by Bleached-Blonde Borash.

Though musical interludes rarely work in pro wrestling shows, the fans were big-time into Keith's song, mainly because it was all full of Eagles and Liberty and Going Murica All Over Everybody's Asses.

One person who clearly wasn't a fan was Jeff Jarrett. Possibly having flashbacks to WWF In Your House 2, Double J stormed out, shoved Keith aside and headed to the ring, claiming that nobody wanted to hear the country music star singing.

Keith had to be held back by officials whilst Jarrett circled the ring, ready for our main event.

NWA World Heavyweight Championship Gauntlet for the Gold Match 

Featuring: Jeff Jarrett, Buff Bagwell, Lash LeRoux, Norman Smiley, Apollo, K-Krush, Slash, Del Rios, Justice, Konnan, Bruce, Rick Steiner, Malice, Scott Hall, Vampire Warrior, Devon Storm, Steve Corino, Ken Shamrock, Brian Christopher

And so it was on, a 20-man battle royal with the last two remaining competitors going at it in a singles match for the title.

Jarrett started off in Hulk Hogan/John Cena mode, making quick work of Buff Bagwell, Lash LeRoux, and Norman Smiley and singlehandedly eliminating each man, one after the other. Honestly, anybody would think Jarrett himself were booking the match or something.

Seeing Jarrett do the superhuman thing was very boring, and the match didn't get much better when Apollo came in and put an end to Double J's reign of terror. Still, the former Intercontinental Champion stayed in the match all the way until the 15th or 16th participant, when Toby Keith put in a cameo appearance.

Looking to get some revenge, Keith hit Jarrett with a suplex before he and Scott Hall tossed him out of the ring.

If there are some names you don't quite recognise here, let's go through them.

Del Rios was an exact clone of Big Poppa Pump Scott Steiner (albeit smaller) who had famously had one match in the WWF as wrestling magician Phantasio. Justice would become Abyss and Bruce was Allen Funk in a "we're gay so we're heels" gimmick with Lenny Lane. Malice was The Wall from WCW.

I say all this because it's more interesting than just about anything that happened in the match itself, outside of Malice killing everybody and Konnan being just as super-over as he was at the height of his WCW run.

After a lengthy battle, Ken Shamrock and Malice were the last two remaining, at which point Ricky Steamboat stepped in as our special referee.

A short, forgettable match later, Shamrock got the win.
Your Winner and NEW NWA Champion: Ken Shamrock

After Shamrock's celebration, Jeff Jarrett stormed back to the ring, still complaining about the stupid idea of having a battle royal to determine a world champion.

bought Jackie Fargo and Toby Keith back out, with Fargo telling us that he'd have somebody take care of Jarrett next week. That somebody happened to Scott Hall, who stormed out and got into a brawl with Jarrett as the show came to an end.






And so that that was that.

Picking up right where WCW had left off with a cringe-worthy version of the Attitude Era product, if NWA: TNA really were the company to challenge WWE's dominance, they certainly didn't show it on their first outing as a company. 

Sure, there was some good wrestling, particularly in the opening contest, but it's fair to say that this show really hasn't aged well over the past seventeen years. In fact, watching this show, it's amazing to think that TNA, in some form or another, has made it this far. 



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Retro Pro Wrestling

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