It was several years back now when I found and purchased my first TNA DVD's. I happened upon an epic sale at Wal-Mart (I believe), where they were selling the TNA Anthology Epic Set, a collection of three wrestling DVD's, for only $10. Needless to say, I was quick to purchase it, and have since enjoyed watching matches off of all three sets. So why have I never written reviews of the shows? I really don't know why. They just never made their way in. Well, now I've gone ahead and brought the "Epic Set" to my workspace, so in-between projects, I'm going to be getting some reviews done on some classic (and not-so-classic) NWA-TNA action. We're starting things off with the earliest DVD in the set, and the first-ever Total Nonstop Action 3-Hour Show, Victory Road '04! It was a time where brand-new independent stars (like AJ Styles) were on the rise, while veterans of the sport (such as Roddy Piper & Scott Hall) were contributing name recognition to the product. The big match, of course, was "The Charismatic Enigma" Jeff Hardy getting his shot at the NWA World Champion, "Double J" Jeff Jarrett, in a ladder match. Would Jeff get his first World Heavyweight Title?
TNA Victory Road '04 |
Posted by the Accelerator, September 18th, 2008
- The cover for this PPV isn't exactly impressive, although it does a good job of displaying the main stars of the show: Jeff Jarrett, Monte Brown, AJ Styles, and Jeff Hardy. The box does, at least, mention (in big letters) the significance of this being the first-ever 3-hour event in NWA-TNA history. Until now, NWA-TNA would only put on weekly shows on PPV, betting that fans would be willing to pay for the show every week. This was the organization's first attempt to get away from that, and to stand up against the all-powerful WWE.
- There are a bunch of bonus moments on the second DVD, but most of them consist of different camera angles of big moves. I do like some of the angles, though. I can't go into full detail of the moves here (since they'd be spoilers) but go ahead and check out a few of them, if you're interested.
- One of the best things about NWA-TNA, even now, was its intro videos. David Sahadi is a complete genius, who always gets you interested in the show. This one basically covers the history of TNA, with a great dramatic voice leading the way. This one I have to type out, even if it loses something without the dramatic music and pictures (seriously, you need to check this out).
"The Phenomenal" AJ Styles could have been an Olympian, but his true passion burns in the ring. Tonight, he wants to show the world why he is considered the most amazing athlete on Earth.
"The Alpha Male" Monte Brown played in two Super Bowls. But he left the grid-iron to pursue a personal dream, one he has embraced since childhood.
Jeff Hardy, "the Charismatic Enigma", lives life like a rock star. But he cannot resist this stage, because of the energy, the emotion, and an inner hunger still unsatisfied.
And then, there's Jeff Jarrett, a champion in every organization he's been. He now defends the very same NWA championship belt worn by such venerable legends as Lou Thesz, Harley Race, Ric Flair, and the American Dream Dusty Rhodes.
The stories are endless. Warriors, dreamers, men who have sacrificed everything for this chance at stardom. Tonight, boys will become men. Men will become warriors. And warriors will take great steps on the road to immortality. These are their faces. This is their moment. Tonight, a genesis is unfolding. A brave new world emerging. Welcome to the dawn of a new era in professional wrestling!!"
One of the best introductions to a PPV I've ever seen, even after all these years. You have to be pumped up after that. If you're not, then you aren't a wrestling fan, so what the heck are you doing watching? Or, for that matter, reading this?
- "The Professor" Mike Tenay and Don West are your announcers for the night, as we're in NWA-TNA's usual location of Orlando, Florida. You have to love how pumped the local fans are for this. Course, there probably aren't more than a few thousand in the stands, but it still feels like a packed house (since the TNA arena is so small at this point).
- Some footage is shown of Jeff Jarrett showing up in a limo earlier in the night. Shane Douglas, the special backstage announcer, met Jarrett as he got out, with the champion proclaiming that he had spoken to his ally, Scott Hall. Hall assured Jarrett that Kevin Nash (who had previously sent word that he would be in the corner of Jeff Hardy) would not be here tonight, which made Jarrett that much more confident.
20-Man X-Division Gauntlet Match:
"The Coolest" Frankie Kazarian comes out first, followed by "The Original Playa from the Himalayas" Sonjay Dutt. The rules here are simple: men will come down every minute, with the only way to be eliminated is to be thrown over the top rope and down to the floor. The final two will go at it to see who wins the Gauntlet trophy.
This is back when TNA really cared about the X Division, so the action is going to be wild. I'm just going to cover the basics in this one. The first three, Kazarian, Dutt, and Puma, put on some great-looking maneuvers, getting the crowd pumped up. Kazarian & Puma started double-teaming Dutt, trying to get rid of him, with no success. #4 is L.A. Park (formerly known as La Parka in WCW), who brings a steel chair to the ring, swinging it at everyone. He takes a moment to pose on the chair, getting cheers from the crowd. But he has a lot of trouble getting out of his jacket, which leads to him getting attacked. #5 is "Mr. 630" Jerrelle Clark, who goes wild on Dutt. This is a match of high-spots, no question. But then, what do you expect with only 1 minute between wrestlers?
#6 is Kazushi Miyamoto, going back-and-forth with Puma, then LA Park. Clark, meanwhile, opts to go for his 630 Splash, landing it on Puma! Clark gets taken down seconds later himself by Kazarian, who took advantage of him posing. Still no eliminations, but some great maneuvers, as the ring fills up. #7 is Matt Bentley w/ Tracy (Brooks), who is the tag-team partner of Kazarian. They quickly team up to beat up Puma, throwing him to the outside and ending Puma's night. Clark tries to charge both men, but he gets tossed out again. Miyamota fares no better, as we're suddenly down to four guys. LA Park manages to slow down the tag-team enough to allow Dutt to get back into it, splitting up the tag-team partners. #8 is Hector Garza, who takes it right to both tag-team members. He allows with LA Park, uniting Team Mexico once again. Garza's physique is pretty impressive at this point. #9 is Nosawa, and the announcers mention that Nosawa's partner, Miyamota, has already been eliminated, hurting Nosawa's chances. Garza & LA Park keep allying up, as do Bentley & Kazarian. #10, halfway through, is Mikey Batts, who also lost his tag-team partner (Clark) before he could get there. He mainly just gets flipped around by Bentley in the early going.
#11 is Alex Shelley, going at it with Kazarian. The announcers point out that the #1 and #2 wrestlers are still there, somehow surviving this long. This ends shortly thereafter, as Dutt tries to skin the cat, but gets drop-kicked in the back by Shelley and sent out. LA Park follows seconds later, as Kazarian backdropped him out. #12 is Matt Sydal (later known as Evan Bourne in WWE). He gets some great-looking flips, as you would expect from him. Shelley takes a flip that seems to injure his back, so Shelley rolls to the outside in pain. The head ref, Rudy Charles, checks on him, as the action continues in the ring. #13 is Sonny Siaki, who nearly kills Kazarian, Sydal, and Bentley in successive moves. He throws out Nosawa, bringing us to six in the ring (and 1 on the outside, Shelley). Garza soon takes it down one more, showing off his leg strength by launching Batts out of the ring! #14 is Jason Cross, who puts on a few good-looking moves of his own. Sydal is taking bumps like nobody's business. #15 is Shark Boy, who lands a few knee drops, as well as biting away at the rears of a few guys. Sydal gets flipped to the outside, but lands on the apron. Before he can come back in, though, Shelley suddenly comes up from the ground and yanks Sydal out, eliminating him and proving that he's been faking it! An angry Sydal throws Shelley back into the ring, getting him back into action.
#16 is Psicosis, who immediately goes at it with Hector Garza, surprising the announcers. Bentley nearly gets tossed by Shark Boy, but Tracy manages to help Bentley back in, saving his run in the match. #17 is D-Ray 3000, he of the wild afro, who immediately teams up with his partner, Shark Boy, leading to the battering ram being delivered to several wrestlers in the ring. This gets them some attention, though, leading to Cross and Shelley nearly eliminating them. They survive on the apron, give each other high fives, then come back in. They're met by a charging Siaki, who clotheslines both men out to the boos of the crowd. #18 is the Amazing Red, a former X Division Champion. He punches away at the biggest man, Siaki. On the other side of the ring, Cross manages to catch Shelley on the top rope, shoving him out! Cross then gets attacked by Psicosis, who places him on the ropes and lands a flying kick! Both fall into the ring, staying in it. #19 is Spanky (better known to WWE fans at Brian Kendrick), trying to take it to Matt Bentley. He takes on both tag-team members, though, leading to Spanky rolling over Kazarian, only to take a sidekick from Bentley. #20 is Chris Sabin, and we've got all the wrestlers who can win in there now.
Sabin, the clear crowd favorite, goes after Siaki, getting some aid from Spanky. The two manage a double-dropkick against Siaki, who barely steps up and doesn't go nearly out. Whoops. Sabin & Spanky quickly improvise, grabbing Siaki and bodily tossing him out to make the elimination official. Spanky continues to impress in this one, getting up on Bentley's shoulders and leaning him to the ropes, managing to toss Bentley out! Kazarian is not happy. He bodyslams Siaki, then mysteriously decides to go to the top rope, even though Siaki already has moved out of range. Spanky, though, is more than happy to attack Kazarian on the turnbuckle. Spanky and the Amazing Red then climb up and start to prepare Kazarian for a double-suplex, but then Sabin and Cross come in on the sides, Psicosis & Garza take the powerbomb positions, and we've got a MASSIVE Tower of Doom!! Nice. The crowd is pumped.
Garza and Psicosis, predictably, are the first up, with Psicosis knocking Garza down with a boot. Cross tries to attack Psicosis, but Psicosis nails him with a spinning Inverted DDT, then clotheslines Cross out of the ring, eliminating him. Psicosis next attacks the Amazing Red, but Red gets the best of it, sending Psicosis to the apron, then lands an Enziguiri that sends Psicosis out! Seconds later, Red tries to hurricanrana Kazarian out, but Kazarian holds on, booting Red off the apron to stay alive, while eliminating Red! The rapid eliminations continue, with Spanky flying deep down the aisle thanks to Sabin, leaving three men left: Sabin, Garza, & the #1 entrant, Kazarian. We get another great spot, with Sabin getting a Super Release German Suplex off the top rope on Kazarian, right into Garza!! All three men take a few seconds to recover from that one. Sabin nearly gets rid of Kazarian again, dropkicking him over the ropes, but Kazarian still hangs on. With Kazarian down, Sabin tries to take care of Garza, but Garza manages to catch Sabin and straddle him on the ropes. Garza then dropkicked him, sending Sabin out of the match and leaving the final two, which means that this one is now about pins and submissions.
The two men fight for a little while, with Garza obviously being in better shape thanks to the luck of the draw. Garza lands a sweet Moonsault on Kazarian, but the Coolest won't stay down. Kazarian comes back, getting a slingshot DDT for a near 2 count of his own. The fans have no clue who's winning, so they're cheering for everything. Kazarian tries a roll-up, but Garza gets free and lands a horrible-sounding dropkick, knocking him cold. Garza goes back up, going for the Corkscrew Torneo, but Kazarian dodges it, then gets a side roll-up! But as the ref counts, Garza reverses it, putting Kazarian's shoulders on the mat and getting the 3 count! An exhausted Kazarian looks on as Garza gets the X Gauntlet Cup. And that, dear friends, is the most I've written about a match in ages. Whew!
Winner: Hector Garza
Ace Thoughts: This was a great opening match, which definitely got the fans going. It was also a good use of the X Division talent. After all, you want to showcase as many of your stars as you can in this kind of atmosphere, especially for all of the new PPV watchers they were getting. Several wrestlers really shown out, including Sabin, Shelley, Spanky, and Kazarian. Not surprisingly, all of these wrestlers would go on to some more success in the ring. Of course, only two of these wrestlers (Spanky & Sydal) would ever find stardom in WWE (I don't count Siaki, because he never really made it out of developmental).
- The Spanish announcers, Armando Kintero(sp) & Moody Jack, interview Garza, speaking in first English, then Spanish. Garza, of course, just speaks Spanish, which makes this even more of a big moment, seeing a Mexican star do so well. He's happy to have won, and appreciates the Hispanic fans who are supporting TNA. Garza was quickly becoming a star for TNA at this point. Too bad he would later get busted for having steroids (which were legal in Mexico, but illegal here in the U.S.A.), which led to him getting deported. Hey, he's still managed to have a pretty good career in CMLL, so don't feel too sorry for him. It was more of a loss for TNA.
- A 'political' promo runs, praising "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes, who is running for Director of Authority against Vince Russo. Silly, but hey, the fans had the right to vote, so be it. They make a joke about problems with the web server in Stanford, Connecticut. Hardy har har. Kid Kash, Dallas, & the Naturals come in, with Kid Kash telling them all that they were going to be listening to him tonight. The Naturals don't seem too impressed.
Kid Kash, Dallas, & the Naturals (Andy Douglas & Chase Stevens) vs. Johnny B. Badd, Pat Kenney, Ron "The Truth" Killings, & Erik Watts:
Here's your quick refresher: Dallas is better known as Lance Hoyt/Lance Rock in TNA; Pat Kenney is better known as Simon Diamond; Johnny B. Badd was known in WWE as Marc Mero; and Killings is currently wrestling as R-Truth in WWE. The Naturals are, well, the Naturals.
This was definitely not quite as much of a high-flying atmosphere, as many of the competitors in this one are either raw or too experienced. And I'm not even talking about Watts. This was your standard 4-on-4 match, with each man tagging in and out early on to show off all the different match-ups. Dallas did show off his 6'9" Moonsault at one point, although he missed Kenney. The big change was when Killings, the former NWA World Champion, came in. He started dominating everyone, causing things to break down and wrestlers to fight all over. It came down to Badd landing a Frankensteiner off the turnbuckle on Stevens, followed by Killings landing a double-arm underhook (similar to the Pedigree) for the victory.
Winners: Johnny B. Badd, Pat Kenney, Ron Killings, & Erik Watts
Ace Thoughts: This was a pretty short match, basically there to help the crowd relax after the epic Gauntlet match. The good news is that the rookies were protected, while Watts was mainly kept on the apron (although he did hit a few moves, I must admit). It was also nice to see Badd land the Badd Moon Rising. Still, there wasn't much here to get too excited about, other than cheering on Killings, who really deserved better than this. He was the only prime-time star in this one, but I guess they had to find a place for him, since his buddies in 3 Live Kru were busy elsewhere. If you need a bathroom break, you could always go with this one (then again, there IS the next match [see below]).
- A limo arrives in the back, and once again Shane Douglas is there. Shane thinks it's got to be Kevin Nash, but the driver says it's not Nash. The driver actually holds his ground and won't let Shane in. I wish Shane would have knocked his block off, but oh well.
- Abyss is shown in his locked, dark room, where he's supposedly stayed for 24 hours without food and water.
Piratita Morgan vs. Mascarita Sagrada:
Yep, that's right. We've got midgets in the house! Ok, technically, they're Lucha Minis, and they were quite popular in Mexico for a while. Morgan is huge next to Sagrada, so it's strength vs. speed. This one's all about how you feel about matches like this. There were some good leaping maneuvers, but at the same time, the crowd was hating on this one. I loved it when they started chanting "Get the ladder" to them. There was a lot of slow-down moments in this one, so the crowd never really got into it into the Lucha Minis both hit the referee. Sagrada got a 'mini' side roll-up for the victory, and Tenay hurts his credibility by calling Sagrada's comeback a 'miracle'.
Winner: Mascarita Sagrada
Ace Thoughts: Not much to see here. Not my thing. Moving on.
- Scott Hudson is back with the 3 Live Kru (first taking a moment to pitch the Director of Authority election). Konnan bad-mouths Team Canada, followed by BG James (or B-Jizzle, if you go by his t-shirt).
- The announcers start talking about the Tag-Team Titles match coming up, but then a different music hits, and out comes Scott Hall. Even though Hall's aligned himself with the evil Jarrett, the crowd still loves him. In fact, Hall's "Hey Yo" inspires a TNA chant. Hall claims that Kevin Nash won't be here tonight. Since Hall was at the first TNA PPV, and since he 'invented' the Ladder match (bit of a stretch there), nobody's more interested in the main event match as he is. Let the best Jeff win.
- We get a promo showing the rise of Team Canada, attacking the champions from behind and managing to take away the NWA World Tag-Team Titles from Christopher Daniels & James Storm (a story in itself). BG James & Konnan earned the #1 Contendership spot, leading to the feud between the two stables.
Team Canada (Bobby Roode & Eric Young)(c) w/ Coach Scott D'Amore vs. 3 Live Kru (BG James & Konnan), NWA World Tag-Team Titles Match:
3 Live Kru was certainly an intriguing tag-team, as it really revived the careers of both James and Konnan in TNA, while giving Killings somewhere to go after being at the top. Of course, you also have to look at it as Killings and James were WWE cast-offs, while Konnan made his name in WCW. It's the old-school wrestlers vs. the new blood! It's almost a WCW storyline there, ain't it?
Surprisingly, Killings doesn't come out with his partners. You'd think they'd want him there to keep D'Amore busy. Then again, maybe Killings just doesn't have a manager's license (an old WWF excuse). Roode and James start things out, with James dominating both men early on. A missed crossbody allows Roode to beat on James on the outside, while Young distracts the ref. James plays the face-in-peril for a while, getting double-teamed in the wrong corner. The crowd inspires James back into it, briefly, with a "USA" chant. But James doesn't bother to tag, so he's soon down again, getting beat down in the center of the ring. We have the usual "missed tag" by the ref, so Konnan can't get in. With D'Amore distracting the ref, both Canadians tried to use their flagpole as a weapon, but James out-smarted them, knocking them together by leaping on the flagpole, then finally tags in Konnan, who starts beating on both men. Konnan soon puts Young in the Tequila Sunrise, with Roode making the save. James tries to come in to help, but just gets a Spine Buster from Roode instead. Roode sets up the Northern Lariats suplex, but Konnan stops it from the outside, allowing James to knock Roode down, then prepare Roode for the Pumphandle Slam! D'Amore tries to charge the ring with the hockey stick, but suddenly the Truth is there, running D'Amore off. Roode comes back thanks to the distraction, destroying James from behind with the Northern Lariat! Unfortunately, Konnan's the legal man, so Young sends him into the ring for Roode to land another Lariat. But Konnan ducks, then lands the K-Factor, knocking out Roode! As James holds Young off, Konnan makes the pin, winning away the titles! 3 Live Kru celebrates, while D'Amore comes back out and curses out Young for not being there.
Winners, and NEW NWA World Tag-Team Champions: 3 Live Kru (James & Konnan)
Ace Thoughts: The crowd wasn't quite there for this one, but it wasn't that bad a match. I guess it was just too short, really, for the fans to get fully into it, despite how many false finishes they had. By my clock, they didn't even quite get 7 minutes for this World Title match, which just says to me that they overbooked tonight. I mean, give this match the 3-minutes given to the Lucha Mini's, and I think you have a much better bout. Oh well. 3 Live Kru would only have a month to celebrate as the champions, as Team Canada managed to get the better of them the next month at Turning Point. The brighter stars are clearly on Team Canada's side, as both Roode and Young have become mid-to-main level stars in TNA, while most of the Kru has faded away (shockingly, out of the three, James is the one still wrestling for TNA; figure that one out).
- Raven, locked in his own dark room, still manages to give an awesome (and spooky) interview to the camera.
Yep. He's lost it. And that's a good thing.
- We get a 'political' commercial for Vince Russo. A little late, Russo, they said you're behind by 10 percent. He at least insults his opponent, taking to negative campaigning.
"In The Pit" Segment:
The bagpipes hit, and the crowd's on its feet, as "Rowdy" Roddy Piper comes out! The announcers wonder who the surprise interview's going to be with. They also tip-toe around copyright issues, making sure to refer to it as "The Pit", instead of "Piper's Pit". The crowd chants "You're a legend", which is definitely true. Piper goes off about 'legends', saying that the man he's got to talk with put the X in X Division, long before there was one. He introduces "Superfly" Jimmy Snuka! Piper tells Snuka that he's been haunted now for 21 years. He praises the Superfly, bringing up his 30-foot dive so many years ago off the cage. Piper then mentions the infamous coconut shot that Piper gave Snuka so many years ago. He brings out a coconut, hands it to Snuka, and asks Snuka to hit him with it, to even the score! Piper screams for Snuka to hit him, even taunting him to try to inspire him to smack him. The crowd wants Snuka to do it, too, but Snuka doesn't do it.
As Piper continues to talk to Snuka, Kid Kash suddenly comes out, insulting both men. Kash talks about his own accomplishments, while saying that all Snuka did was fall off the cage. Kash then opts to attack Snuka, but Snuka blocks it, then knocks Kash down with a chop! But now Matt Bentley & Frankie Kazarian are there, attacking Snuka. Piper tries to help out, throwing the guys off, but they go right back to beating on Snuka. Sonjay Dutt then comes out, making the save by double-clotheslining Bentley & Kazarian out of the ring. But Kash, meanwhile, gets the coconut and lays out Dutt!!! A furious Piper sheds his jacket, with Kash bailing out. He tries to brag to Bentley & Kazarian, but surprisingly, they want no part of it. Kash tries to say that he didn't bring the coconut in there, but they aren't listening. Dutt's slowly rolled out of the ring, as we cut away.
Ace Thoughts: They were trying to start a major angle here, but I don't think it worked as well as they were hoping for. Plus, I don't think the crowd truly understood why Snuka, the older man here, would take the most punishment, getting triple-teamed. Even when Piper threw one off, he'd immediately go back to attacking Snuka, rather than trying to take Piper out. All-in-all, I'd say this segment fell a little flat. Still, at least they were trying for more X Division storylines, right?
- We get a third locked room shot, this time with Monte Brown inside. Brown gives a yelling interview, obviously pumped up. He's pacing like a caged animal, which, as I think about it, really fits. He talks about Abyss' constipation problems (huh?), then says that both men will feel the Pounce, the Pounce, the Pooooouuuunce! Period!
- A commercial runs, letting everyone know about TNA's wrestlers. It's also a commercial for Turning Point '04 in December. Pretty simplistic, but at least it gets the word out. The announcers talk a little more about the upcoming PPV, then get back to the current PPV.
- A promo runs, showing Trinity issuing the open challenge to anyone to face her at Victory Road. She even tries to get involved in a qualifying match, wanting to be in the 20-Man Gauntlet. When she's stopped by security, Vince Russo comes down and says that Trinity will have a match at the PPV, but that she won't like who it was.
Trinity w/ Glen Gilberti & Johnny Swinger vs. Mystery Opponent:
Gilberti, by the way, is the former Disco Inferno from WCW, for those who didn't know. They each talk on the mic, with Trinity thinking that her opponent is a no-show. Trinity has Gilberti & Swinger put her on her shoulders, but as they 'celebrate', a lady runs into the ring from behind and attacks, yanking Trinity off the shoulders! A good look shows that it's Jacqueline! The former WWF Women's Champion, who takes out the men, then starts beating on Trinity! She knocks Trinity to the outside into the arms of Gilberti & Swinger, then leaps off onto them, knocking everyone down! The bell finally rings, as Gilberti grabs Jacqueline's leg, allowing Trinity to finally get some offense. Trinity nearly pins Jacqueline on a reverse roll-up, then gouges Jacqueline's eyes. She kicks away at Jacqueline and lands a powerslam, followed by a spinning kick for a 2 count. Jacqueline fights back, getting a release German suplex, with Gilberti pulling Jacqueline off the cover from the outside. Jacqueline stays on the fight, punching Trinity in the corner. Gilberti tries to interfere, but as the ref deals with him, Swinger grabs Jacqueline and drops her throat-first on the top rope! With Jacqueline down, Trinity lands a Moonsault and gets the win, thanks to some outside interference.
Ace Thoughts: This one was even shorter than the Lucha Minis match (if you don't count the talking early on). Jacqueline sure didn't get the greatest of starts in TNA, as she had to fight all three, which eventually ended with her getting taken out. Honestly, there just wasn't much here, especially since the crowd seemed to be more on Trinity's side during parts of this. Jacqueline's fate wouldn't get much better after this, as she became a referee for a while, helping Johnny B. Badd & Pat Kenney beat Gilberti & Swinger at Turning Point '04. Still, Jacqueline's definitely had a better TNA run than any of the others, since she's still around, currently as James Storm's valet and managing him & Robert Roode in Beer Money. She's led them to the TNA World Tag-Team Titles, so you have to give her respect. On the flip side, Trinity just never took off inside the ring, and would only appear in one more PPV match (at Hard Justice '05).
- Scott Hudson talks about the DOA decision again (Rhodes is still way ahead), then is interrupted by Triple xXx (Christopher Daniels & Elix Skipper). Daniels apologizes to Skipper, saying that he shouldn't have been playing nice the last few months. Daniels is extremely confident, telling America's Most Wanted to pray to God that they survive.
- We get a promo about the Monster's Ball. Monte Brown officially brought up the Monster's Ball concept, challenging Raven and Abyss. Father Mitchell touts Abyss' size and strength. Raven, well, he's just crazy. The promo's more like an old-school ECW spot, but it gets the point across.
Abyss vs. Monte Brown vs. Raven, Monster's Ball Match:
As announced earlier, all three men have been locked up without food or water for the last 24 hours, so they're all looking a little off as they come down. Raven, in particular, had trouble with the lights, especially when the fireworks goes off. Raven and Abyss start fighting it out before Brown can even get down there.
This one starts on the floor and stays there for a while, going up into the stands and having the wrestlers uses any weapons available on their opponents. Abyss ruled the early going, taking on both guys. Meanwhile, we have a guy in the rafters (Father Mitchell) watching on. Brown and Raven try double-teaming Abyss, but Abyss fights them off. Still, when Raven brings in his favorite weapon, the steel chair, he starts to take control for a while. Brown uses the chair as well, mainly just throwing it into the faces of his two opponents. Everyone's looking good so far in this one.
Brown, pumped up, tries for the Pounce on Raven, but Raven pulls the ref into the way, basically getting the ref killed. Abyss comes back in, but Brown shows off his power, picking up the massive Abyss and delivering a running powerslam! The crowd loved that one. Brown started to go for the Pounce on Abyss, but Raven got in the way on the apron, allowing Abyss to get his Black Hole Slam. Unfortunately, the ref is gone, so there's no pinfall. Abyss opts to go for his bag full of thumbtacks, bringing out a "Foley" chant. Abyss and Brown go at it on the turnbuckle, with Abyss winning out. He pours the thumbtacks on the mat, then goes to take Brown off the 'buckle into the pile! But Brown blocks the Superplex, saving himself. Raven then comes back in and grabs Abyss from behind, giving Abyss a powerbomb into the tacks!!
Raven goes for the pin, and another ref comes running down, but Abyss kicks out. Abyss' back looks absolutely terrible. Raven sets up a table in the corner, while Abyss has a table on the outside. Raven starts punching away on Brown, then meets Abyss on the apron. With a running shot, Raven sends Abyss flying into the table outside! But as soon as Raven does that, Brown runs towards him and delivers the Pounce through the table!!! RIP, Raven. That was just brutal. This one's over, as Brown wins the inaugural Monster's Ball.
Winner: "The Alpha Male" Monte Brown
Ace Thoughts: I think this match was made more enjoyable by the fact that we have had very little other hardcore action tonight. It really made the chairs, tables, and thumbtacks that much more special. While the match wasn't really that long (a running series tonight, apparently), the three men put a lot into what they had, which would help make the Monster's Ball a staple of TNA. Brown got a huge win here, which should have helped lead him to the NWA World Title. Unfortunately, Brown never got there, and eventually went over to WWE for at time (can I say I hated the Marcus Cor Von name?) before leaving the profession altogether to take care of his family. Too bad, because matches like these showed how much potential Brown really had in the business.
- In the parking lot, Shane Douglas is still trying to threaten and scream his way into the limo. "Heavy D" Don Harris (head of security) comes out to get in Douglas' face, to get him to back off. Eh.
- We get a video of the fans enjoying the TNA atmosphere. Many of the TNA wrestlers signed autographs at a special event, Total Nonstop Interaction.
- Scott Hudson is with Coach Scott D'Amore and the TNA X Division Champion, Petey Williams, with Hudson immediately bringing up Team Canada's loss of the tag titles earlier. He also calls Williams the 'underdog' against AJ Styles. Williams doesn't like that, wanting to see if Styles can survive the Canadian Destroyer. D'Amore basically says that if Styles wins the X Division Title, the Coach will go home to Canada and never be seen again. Williams looks a little stunned by that one. Nothing like adding some pressure to your wrestler, there, D'Amore.
- A promo video shows what brought us to this point. Williams' video-game-inspired finisher, the Canadian Destroyer, is heavily featured, as is the Styles Clash. Styles is put over as TNA's only Triple Crown winner, and we get to see a lot of exciting maneuvers.
- And then.... I have to put in Disc 2. That's the fun part of these older shows; there's so much action, you have to switch out mid-way through.
Petey Williams(c) w/ Coach Scott D'Amore vs. "The Phenomenal" AJ Styles, TNA X Division Title Match:
Tenay goes over the bullet points before the match, pointing out the battle between the finishing maneuvers. West points out that Styles is going for his 4th X Division Title reign, which would be a record.
Both men make some fast maneuvers at the beginning, each trying different versions of roll-ups that bring the crowd to its feet, chanting "TNA". Poor D'Amore looks like his head is killing him. Neither man seems to have the advantage early on, until Styles lands a painful-sounding dropkick that sends Williams rolling to the outside. Styles points for the attack, leaping over the ropes. Williams dodges, but Styles stops on the apron, then does a back-flip, lands on his feet, and nails Williams with a kick in the back! Damn, he's good. Now Petey's in trouble, as Styles goes back in, gets some momentum, and leaps out of the ring onto Williams with a suicide dive!! Williams turns things around with a nice spinning reverse that sends Styles into the ropes, and the Coach is quick to attack from the outside, while the ref is distracted. Shortly thereafter, Williams hangs Styles in the Tree of Woe and does the "Oh, Canada" nutstomp that's always hurts me. Ouch.
Styles gets the advantage back with a spring off the ropes into a Moonsault (that mostly misses, since Petey's out of position). Still, it gets a close 2 count that has D'Amore clutching at his heart. Williams takes back control with some forearms, but a charge doesn't work, allowing AJ to go for the turnbuckle. Williams catches him and drops AJ back into the Tree of Woe, but Williams gets caught trying the nutstomp again, with Styles doing an improbable Reverse Powerbomb off the corner!! Incredible! Williams gets tossed to the apron, but blocks a punch from Styles, so Styles answers with the Pele kick! The two continue to fight it out with forearms, and the fans are hot for them. Styles takes control with a back suplex. Williams comes back by throwing AJ through the ropes, but Styles lands on his feet and comes right back in with that springboard flying forearm of his, getting a 2 count. This one is all over the place.
Williams finally lands himself some offense, getting a nice spinning maneuver into a Russian legsweep. With confidence, Williams makes the motion to pull in Styles for the Canadian Destroyer! But Styles gets free and reverses it towards the Styles Clash! Williams reverses out of that, but Styles just turns it into a slam into the turnbuckle! The announcers notice that the Coach has grabbed the X Division Title, which could be foreshadowing for later. In the ring, Styles starts doing the "reeling in" motion, then tries for the Clash, but Petey switches it to a roll-through, only to have AJ reverse that for his own roll-up! The ref counts 1...2... then goes and argues with D'Amore, who is climbing over the ropes! Sheesh, ref, just finish the count, THEN worry about D'Amore! Styles gets distracted by D'Amore, as Williams grabs the hockey stick. He gets ready to nail Styles, but the ref (Rudy Charles) sees it and grabs the stick, stopping that assault. However, while the ref is putting the stick out of the ring, Williams gets the title belt from D'Amore and smacks Styles in the face!! Williams makes the pin, but, shockingly, Styles kicks out!! Williams (and D'Amore) can't believe it. Williams tries for the Destroyer again, but Styles blocks it, throwing Williams onto the turnbuckle. Styles follows, but D'Amore gets involved again, grabbing Styles' leg! The ref gets rid of D'Amore, but it's too late, as Williams throws Styles off, then leaps off the turnbuckle, grabbing Styles on the way down and flipping him over with the Canadian Destroyer!!! This one's over, as Petey stays the champ and the Coach is still in TNA.
After the match, the rest of Team Canada (Bobby Roode & Eric Young) come out to celebrate with D'Amore and Williams. As the rest leave the ring, D'Amore takes a moment to taunt the still-down Styles. Styles answers with the Pele Kick, then starts beating D'Amore down!! As soon as the rest of Team Canada comes in, Styles darts out, avoiding the final beatdown. Team Canada checks on their Coach, as a hurting Styles heads away to his own music.
Winner, and STILL TNA X Division Champion: Petey Williams
Ace Thoughts: Terrific match, one that you should definitely see, if you haven't had the opportunity. Styles was on tonight, with only one or two little slip-ups during the whole match. Of course, Williams was just as good, showcasing all that was right about the X Division at this point in TNA's history. Both men, thankfully, have remained key assets for TNA, with multiple title reigns for each man. It's good to see that TNA hasn't let these guys get away, although, of course, you have to wonder if WWE would be able to use their talent wisely (see Jamie Noble/Paul London/Gregory Helms/et cetera). These were two guys you always wanted to see in the ring against each other.
- Jeff Jarrett's shown in his locker room, getting his wristbands on, while Scott Hall sits behind him, relaxed. Meanwhile, Jeff Hardy is in a dark room, applying his facepaint and screaming at the mirror. Strange, but ok.
- A promo runs reminding us of the history between America's Most Wanted (Chris Harris & James Storm) and Triple xXx (Christopher Daniels & Elix Skipper). When the Naturals (then the NWA Tag Champs) took out Daniels at a show, removing him from the title match, Larry Zbyszko proclaimed that the match would still take place, and we soon found out that Skipper was going to be joined by AMW's Harris! Remarkably, Harris & Skipper won the NWA World Tag-Team Titles, which left both teams a little strained. Zbyszko, seizing on the opportunity, pitting Harris & Skipper against Daniels & Storm! Due to a miscommunication between Daniels and Skipper, Storm was able to get his superkick, winning away the titles for himself & Daniels! Teamwork was a major issue, though, allowing Team Canada (Roode & Young) to win the titles away from Daniels & Storm. The original two teams came together, fighting in some epic brawls. One big moment was when Triple xXx handcuffed Harris to a corner. With Harris out of it, Daniels took out Storm's leg with a chair shot. This has AMW at a disadvantage coming into this one.
America's Most Wanted (Chris Harris & James Storm) vs. Triple xXx (Christopher Daniels & Elix Skipper), Last Team Standing Match:
The announcers mention that, just today, James Storm attended the funeral of his grandmother, but then made his way back to the PPV. That's dedication. Storm also has his leg bandaged up after that assault from Triple xXx.
As soon as the bell rings, we have a four-man brawl, with Harris vs. Skipper and Storm vs. Daniels. Storm and Skipper win their respective brawls, and go at it against each other within the ring, with Storm suplexing Skipper around the ring. Harris comes back in, and AMW gets a running held clothesline on Skipper, with Daniels quickly coming in to make the save. After a few maneuvers, Storm nails Daniels with a Superkick (using his supposed 'injured' leg. Harris goes up on the turnbuckle, as Storm sets up Harris for the Death Sentence! Skipper stops Storm from doing it to Daniels, but Harris just jumps on Skipper instead, taking him down. Storm then gets a spinning inverted DDT maneuver (hard to really say what it was) and gets the first 3 count pinfall, which really seemed kind of early, but ok. Daniels manages to get to his feet at the count of 8, keeping this one going.
Storm goes right back after Daniels, hitting a great Powerbomb, as Skipper and Harris are all of the sudden following the rules and staying in their corner. Storm tags in Harris, who clotheslines Daniels down. But Daniels is able to get his boot up in the corner, then gets a Side Slam, allowing him to tag in Skipper, and now Harris is the one in trouble. Triple xXx works over Harris for a while with lots of teamwork, tagging in and out. Some of the maneuvers are really innovative, including a Daniels suplex into a Skipper slingshot splash. Harris finally turns things around with a leaping clothesline, then tags Storm back in, who starts taking out both members of Triple xXx. He even gets a Hurricanrana on Daniels! A powerslam on Skipper only gets a 2 count. Storm tries to set Skipper up for the Superkick, but Daniels clips his injured leg, saving him. Triple xXx then takes it to the hurting Storm, eventually (once Skipper realized what was happening) getting him up and landing the Power Plex!! Daniels pins Storm, and then the count is on. Storm somehow manages to get up at 9, staying alive. But as Skipper argues with the ref, Daniels gets a chair and smashes Storm's knee!!! With Harris knocked down again, Daniels makes the pin on Storm, who obviously can't get up now. He tries anyway, but it's too late, so Storm is eliminated from the match, making it 2-on-1.
Triple xXx decides to celebrate, so Harris attacks them from behind, throwing Skipper out of the ring. Daniels fights back and tries for the Best Moonsault Ever, but Harris dodges, then gets a Spear, with Daniels kicking out at 2. I think Skipper was supposed to break it up, but he was a little slow. He jumps off, apparently hitting Daniels, then, for some reason, goes back up the turnbuckle! Harris, of course, knocks Skipper to the outside, then uses the turnbuckle to drop a leg across Daniels, pinning him. Harris goes and starts fighting with Skipper, while Daniels tries to recover, but can't get up in time, which means it's Harris vs. Skipper to decide a winner here.
Both men wearily climb back into the ring. Harris is in charge with rights. Skipper tries to answer with some boots, then goes for the Play of the Day, but Harris reverses it into a (somewhat-sloppy) spinning powerbomb for a 2 count. Skipper's just off tonight. I don't know what it is. Harris lifts Skipper up for a delayed vertical suplex, but his back gives out, as he has to put Skipper back down. Skipper then goes for the Play of the Day again, and, umm, kind of hits it. That just looked terrible, and the crowd isn't happy. An upset Skipper goes and gets a steel chair, shoving the ref (Andrew Stevens) away. Harris manages to stop the attack, then gets the Catatonic onto the chair!! 1... 2... 3? While it looks like Skipper kicks out, the ref calls for the bell anyway, as this apparently WAS supposed to be a pin. Skipper starts to get up, then figures it out and falls back to the mat, staying down for the 10 count, giving AMW the victory. Right afterwards, though, Daniels reappears and nails Harris with a chair shot!! He handcuffs Harris' arm, as Storm returns to go on the attack. But he can't take both men, and soon both AMW members are handcuffed together! Daniels attacks both men with chair shots, laying out their long-time foes. Don Harris and Black Shirt Security shows up to get Triple xXx out of there, saving AMW from any more abuse.
Winners: America's Most Wanted
Ace Thoughts: It's funny. I had better memories of this match. Or maybe I'm thinking of one of the many other great matches these two teams had. Because this one was really sloppy. I'm not sure what was up, but Elix Skipper really seemed off his game, which hurt the match in any number of places. The announcers later announced (during the Jarrett/Hardy match) that Skipper was being taken to a hospital, so there might have been more to it than just an off night. Regardless, there were at least 2 occasions where the other men set up a move, then Skipper appeared late (especially when they were supposedly trying for the Power Plex). The other wrestlers covered it well, but I definitely could see how it was bringing this match down. The crowd really died when Skipper blew the Play of the Day maneuver (either he or Harris). I have to regrettably state that, if you want to see a good AMW/xXx match, you might want to try Turning Point '04 instead. Since this match, both tag-teams broke up, with Skipper never really managing a good singles career for himself in TNA. Daniels has done well, and is currently under a mask as Curry Man, while Storm has found another top partner in Robert Roode, forming the championship tag-team, Beer Money. Harris, well, never really reached his full potential (people always predicted that he would be a break-out star), leaving TNA and failing to impress in WWE (as Braden Walker).
- Scott Hudson is backstage with Jeff Jarrett. Jarrett predicts victory, by getting the belt. "No Nash, no hope, no title".
- Mike Tenay moves to the six-sided ring, where he makes the announcement that, by the margin of 55.6% to 44.4%, "The American Dream" Dusty Rhodes is the new TNA Director of Authority. Russo is shown, looking sad, in the back, as Rhodes comes out and celebrates. Not much drama there, as the percentage has been about the same all night long. Sadly, Russo would be back. Rhodes immediately uses his power, setting up a Six-Sided Cage match between AMW and xXx at the next PPV. Rhodes talks about showing the people "up north" that they've got a fight on their hands. Pretty good interview from the legend.
- A promo shows Jeff Hardy wining a Four-Man #1 Contenders Match to earn this shot (beating Monte Brown, Abyss, and Raven). Hardy challenged Jarrett to a "Ladder" Match at Victory Road. Jarrett answered the challenge by smashing Hardy with a guitar shot. We get a good clip show of both men's matches in TNA. Jarrett has Scott Hall in his corner, while Hardy is supposed to have Kevin Nash in his. Jarrett also, with Petey Williams' help, sneak-attacked Hardy in his hotel room, doing a beatdown. Hardy came back, bandaged up, to get some revenge, but Williams again got involved, allowing Jarrett to throw Hardy off of a ladder outside the ring, adding to his injuries. Styles later came down and took care of Williams, though, allowing Hardy to take out Jarrett with the Swanton Bomb and pose with the belt. The question remains: what effect will Hall and Nash have on this one?
"Double J" Jeff Jarrett(c) vs. "The Charismatic Enigma" Jeff Hardy, NWA World Heavyweight Title Match:
Jeremy Borash does the special introductions for both wrestlers. Hardy takes the time to bring more ladders to the ring during the intros. We start things off with a brawl, as Borash (and the ref) take a powder. Hardy takes advantage early, tossing Jarrett back-first into several ladders (propped up in the corners). The two men have a tug-of-war with a ladder, with Hardy winning, shoving Jarrett into the corner and positioning the ladder against him. Hardy runs partially up the ladder and lands a dropkick. Jarrett's already covered in green paint, thanks to Hardy. The challenger places Jarrett in-between a ladder, then closes it around the champ several times. He then turns the ladder upside-down and puts Jarrett inside of it, then stands on Jarrett's back and squeezes the ladder, crushing him! Hardy adds in a running dropkick to Jarrett's head, and Hardy is in full control of this one.
Hardy, confident now, re-positions the ladder and starts climbing, going for the gold. It's way too early, though, as Jarrett catches him, punching away at Hardy. Hardy blocks a shove into the ladder, then knocks Jarrett into it instead. He goes for a version of the Stroke, but it doesn't look that good. Oh well. Hardy goes ahead and climbs the ropes, with a ladder set up next to it. He tries his spring-off-the-ladder legdrop, but Jarrett moves, causing Hardy to hurt himself. Jarrett drops a ladder onto Hardy a few times, finally getting some offense. Jarrett takes the ladder to the outside, bracing it between the apron and the guardrail, then gets Hardy and drops Hardy throat-first onto the ladder, followed by a suplex onto the ladder. He rolls Hardy back into the ring, then gets his ladder again, smacking Hardy several times in the mid-section. With Hardy, hurting, on the apron, Jarrett hits him again, causing Hardy to fall onto the ref! The ref is out, as Jarrett continues the assault on the outside, bouncing Hardy off the ladder. He's down, so Jarrett opts to set up the other ladder and make the attempt to get the belt. He almost makes it, but Hardy leaps from the turnbuckle and dropkicks the ladder, sending both men to the mat.
Hardy gets up first, positioning the ladder down on the mat. He scoopslams Jarrett on the ladder, then goes to the turnbuckle! Uh oh. Hardy leaps off, nailing the Swanton onto Jarrett (on the ladder)! With Jarrett down, Hardy starts to set up the ladder to make the climb, but now Scott Hall has run down to the ring! He nails Hardy from behind and picks him up, landing the Outsider's Edge!! Black Shirt Security belatedly comes down and gets Hall out of the ring, but he's allowed to sit at ringside. Surprisingly, Hardy still gets up first (way to no sell the Edge, Jeff), as he legdrops a steel chair onto Jarrett's back! Hardy positions two ladders, stacking them on each other to set up a catapult-like formation. Jarrett tries to fight free, trying to position Hardy on the turnbuckle, but Hardy knocked Jarrett away, then leapt off, catapulting the ladder into Jarrett's face!! That was the maneuver that would later break Joey Mercury's nose during a match. Hardy climbs up the ladder, but Jarrett manages to climb the other side, with them fighting on the top. Hardy wins out, bringing Jarrett off the ladder with a "face jam"! Hey, that's what Tenay called it, so I'll go with that.
Hardy seems to be in full control, so Hall interferes again, pulling Hardy to the outside and beating on him!! The ref tries to stop it, but there's really nothing he can do. Hardy, though, manages to escape Hall and runs into the ring, stopping Jarrett from climbing to the belt by shoving it over! Jarrett bounces off the ropes and lands in pain, allowing Hardy to climb up the ladder himself! Jarrett manages to shove the ladder over, but Hardy turns it to his advantage, landing on Hall!! Hardy's soon fighting both Hall and Jarrett on the outside, eventually diving over the ropes with a chair to take out both men!! Hardy brings a third ladder out from under the ring, getting the giant ladder in the mix. Both Hardy and Jarrett climb the massive ladder on the outside (nowhere near the title), fighting away at each other. The ladder tips, and both men fall, with the ladder landing on Hall!!! Damn, I think Hall definitely took the worst of that one. That looks terrible. Back in the ring, both Hardy and Jarrett get back in with ladders, each climbing up towards the gold. They slug it out, with Hardy winning out with a low blow kick. He goes for a Powerbomb off the ladder, but for some reason, Jarrett doesn't let go, instead toppling backwards with the ladder. The crowd knows that one wasn't supposed to happen.
Hardy's back up, and he grabs Jarrett on the apron, trying another powerbomb maneuver! Once again, Jarrett lets go late, so it loses a lot of its effect. With Jarrett down inside the ring, Hardy climbs up the ladder towards the belt, but has to deal with a returning Scott Hall, kicking a chair into Hall's face. Hardy gives Hall the Twist of Fate, followed by the Swanton, and Hall is down and out. Hardy starts heading up the ladder again, as Jarrett sneaks in with the guitar. Hardy kicks away the guitar, but Jarrett still gets a chair shot, taking Hardy down. As Jarrett starts to climb the ladder with his guitar, though, music hits, and Kevin Nash comes down with two guitars! However, it's all a swerve, as Nash gives the other guitar to Hall, showing that the Outsiders are still together. All three men hit Hardy with guitar shots, laying him out, as Jarrett grabs the title and celebrates with his two new partners.
Winner, and still NWA World Heavyweight Champion: Jeff Jarrett
Ace Thoughts: An ok match with a rough, swerve ending that took a lot away from it in the long run. I doubt anyone today would tell you that this was one of TNA's greatest matches, although it definitely had potential to be. There were just too many moments where Jarrett didn't seem to take the full bump from a maneuver, making the match look amateurish at times. The interference of Hall also took some away, but really, the killer was Nash's silly walk down the aisle with the two guitars, obviously not planning to be on Hardy's side. This was really the start of a run where people tuned in for the X Division and Tag-Team contests, then could care less about the World Title match, since they knew it'd be full of run-ins and swerves. Too bad, because I think Jarrett and Hardy might have been able to carry a good match on their own.
- Nash gets himself a mic and gives a quick interview, talking about taking over and taking all the money. They send a challenge to the locker room, and, surprisingly, AJ Styles answers it, taking down Jarrett and Hall! Nash takes his time taking off his shirt, but Styles holds his own against the big man, getting a springing dropkick. He tries for the Styles Clash on Jarrett, but Nash makes the save. Soon, more men are in there, as 3 Live Kru runs in! But Konnan gets taken out by Jarrett's Stroke, Hall nails Ron Killings with the Outsider's Edge, and Nash Powerbombs BJ James, basically burying the tag-team champions. In the back, we see someone getting out of the limo, and seconds later, the music starts to play, along with an "Oh Yeah!". "The Macho Man" Randy Savage slowly makes his way to the ring, getting blocked by Black Shirt Security, as Jarrett, Hall, & Nash stand in the ring.
Final Ace Thoughts: Thus would mark one of the worst main-event set-ups in TNA history, as a PPV would be based around Savage, pitting Jarrett, Hall, & Nash against Hardy, Styles, & Savage. The problem was, Savage had a bad attitude and also wasn't in any shape to wrestle, so he missed most of the match and barely had anything but a negative effect on TNA during his time there. That's some stuff I'd love to forget. Of course, doing these reviews makes that kind of tough.
All-in-all, though, I still definitely recommend this PPV. At the very least, the Gauntlet Match, the X Division Title match, Monster's Ball, and a few of the others are definitely worth seeing. If you want to turn it off after those, though, I understand, as AMW/xXx definitely wasn't as good as it could have been, and the main event definitely leaves a bad taste in your mouth. If you want to see some TNA history, though, this is the PPV to see.