The show is up in full on Impact's YouTube Channel with this show airing from the Von Braun Center and AEW holding Dynamite in the same building tonight I thought I'd watch this show.
400 plus pound wrestler Cheex broke the ring in a dark match, moments before TNA want live so because of that they had to scramble to fix the ring. As a result of this freak accident a promotion called Total Nonstop Action didn't have any action for the first 20 minutes of the broadcast. You can even see the crew fixing the ring in the wide shots as the legends make their way to the ring for the opening segment.
I thought Steamboat did a good job getting over how important the NWA World Heavyweight Championship is, they are having a Gauntlet for the Gold for the vacant Championship later tonight. Jeff Jarrett got a good reaction from the crowd when he first came out but then he spoke and changed everyone's mind. this whole segment is to inform the crowd who was gonna be in the Gauntlet but I also think TNA was trying to establish who their top of the card is gonna be. Jarrett, Ken Shamrock and Scott Hall all come out and cut promos on each other and all think they are gonna win the Strap later tonight. Also Jarrett made fun of the old timers so Jackie Fargo made him the first entrant in the Gauntlet.
AJ Styles, Low Ki and Jerry Lynn vs The Flying Elvis' - This is the very first match in TNA history well not really there was that Cheex match that almost destroyed the whole venture before it even begin but this is the first recognized match in TNA history. The Flying Elvis' are Jimmy Yang, Sonny Siaki and Jorge Estrada Jr dressed as Elvis. Jerry Lynn and Low-Ki dove out of the ring, well Lynn jumped off the top turnbuckle, within the first minute of the match. This was really fucking good, everyone busted out some crazy shit, they must've taken "Total Nonstop Action" seriously. Also set up the x division as being innovative and high octane, a Cruiserweight Division all jacked up on Mountain Dew. Lynn's Cradle Piledriver got a pop. Their was an inconsequential ref bump which I'll chalk up to it being a product of its time. Yang hit a twisting moonsault on AJ for the 3.
Teo vs Hollywood - You can tell it's 2002 cuz both men are wrestling in street clothes, airbrushed street clothes. Match was pretty good actually, could have done without Ferarra's short jokes it diminished the match. I didn't hate this it was short no pun intended i guess brief is more appropriate in this situation but thye wrestled a straight up match not hardcore no crazy wacky finish just a straight up match with a clean finish. Teo hit a swanton of the top rope for the 3. Both men did shit off the top, it was different from what the WWE was doing at the time you weren't gonna see a mini's match on RAW in 2002, hell you won't see a mini's match on RAW in 2020 so i'll give em credit for this.
If there was anything that screams the ruins of the Attitude Era is this next segment wear Don West and Ed Ferrara introduce the participants in the following weeks Lingerie Battle Royal. This is PPV they can be risque ladies are wrestling in their underwear or what WWE did with Torrie Wilson and Stacy Kiebler on RAW a year prior. Lets talk about what Ed Ferarra and Don West are wearing, Don has a curly mullet going on with a floral print button up and slacks, Ed has dreadlocks black leather pants that are beggy and like a pink fur shirt its a strange shirt. They look like they co-own a strip club together. Francine, Brain Lawlers Girlfriend at the time, Daffney in a pink wig going by Shannon, Mickie James, A Baltimore Ravens Cheerleader, Elektra, BB from the WWE and a couple other women I did not recognize are the participants next week. they are all wearing evening gowns and cocktail dresses. Francine cuts a heel promo, Elektra cuts a face promo and claims Francine bankrupted ECW, an egregious claim if there every was one. They catfight as the other women stand there. This wasn't good.
Was Mortimer Plumtree suppose to be their Jim Cornette cuz he's dressed waspy and has a cricket bat and manages the a tag team. more on that in a moment. I mean his promo wasn't like Jim Cornettes it was alot weirder than that, he claims the johnsons use to be his tormenters now they are under his control, what does that even mean?
The Johnsons vs James Storm and Psicosis - The Johnson's are The Shane Twins, under fleshed colored masks and flesh colored body suits going by the names Richard and Rod Johnson, they are suppose to be penises this is where Plumtree goes from Cornette rip off to weird Harvard Grad with Gimps territory. The whole thing screams Russo, there's a lot of Russo throughout the show, he was booking this along with Jarrett. The Shane Twins were NWA Tag Team Champions at the time of TNA"s formation, they stripped the Tag and World Champions at the time, they used the Shane twins anyway so why not just keep the Straps on them? Heel tag team as Champs build a babyface team up to beat them or just have them as wrestling penises. New age Ding Dongs. James Storm was on the first TNA PPV he had shorter hair than he does now and is clean shaven. A Women in a suit dress is thats the term came out and stood at the entrance, the first "what is he/she doing her?" Psicosis is wearing Jeff Hardy's gear. Ferarra made a lot of dick jokes. Match wasn't bad, short. That's another Russo trait short matches, they are on PPV and so far the longest match was the opener at 6 1/2 minutes, this one was just short of five minutes. One of The Johnsons his an F-5 into a Cutter on James Storm for the 3. Ref Slick Johnson sheepishly pays the lady at ringside, they imply shes a hooker.
The Dupps are different Dupps then in ECW they are like dimwitted hillbilly's that are also gross and take turns banging their cousin Fluff. Trevor Murdoch is Stan Dupp, Bo is the Dupp from ECW. Trevor is skinny here he's drank alot of beer in the last 18 years.
The next segment is Ron Killings interrupting an in ring interview with NASCARS Sterling Golden and Hermie Sadler. If there's anyway to make a black man a heel in Alabama, have him talking shit to NASCAR drivers in one way to do it. Hermie Sadler looks like and sounds like a doofus and the crowd is cheering for him he's the face. Brain Lawler makes the save and the crowd goes crazy they are pretty hot for this. Sadler and Golden tossed Ron out of the ring. Lawler challenges Killings to a match next week. This segment was dumb and the Lingerie Battle Royal Segment was dumb but they are setting things up for next week so thats good move but they are building to next week in ways that arent gonna make you wanna buy the PPV next week.
Christian York and Joey Matthews vs The Dupps - The Dupps wrestle in street clothes they are hillbillies so is cut off tee's and shorts. Stan or Trevor Murdoch went with the fashion choice of jean shorts and cowboy boots. I have an absolute serious question, Matthews and York looked great his physically and in ring they had a bit of a buzz at this time as the next tag team, they had a run in latter day ECW, why were they not pushed as the tag team to upset the Johnsons for the tag team titles? They lost this match and i couldn't tell you if they ever wrestled for TNA again as a team. Fluff knocked York balls first onto the top turnbuckle pad he falls to the mat and Bo covers him for the 3. The match was 3 minutes the comedy heel team is the one getting the push.
They show a clip of Toby Keith's video for his song How Do You Like Me Now. He's gonna perform a song no not How Do You Like Me Now no another song. The Anger American is the song. Jeremy Borash calls it the most popular song in America. I've never heard of it. Toby Keith may be the biggest face on the show. Jarrett interrupts Keith to start the Gauntlet for the Gold which makes Jarrett the biggest heel on the show. And Jarrett plays it up big time.
Gauntlet for the Gold - This is similar to the Royal Rumble but its 20 participants not 30 and the final two participants have a mini match to determine the winner. 90 second intervals between entrants as well. The first 4 entrants Jarrett, Buff Bagwell, Lash Leroux, Norman Smiley were all WCW Stars so it's clear that they were trying to appeal to the WCW audience, fill the void it left.. Jarrett looked super impressive early one eliminating entrants 2-4 within 90 seconds each. Entrant 5, Apollo broke Jarretts streak. The elimination's slow down for awhile the ring fills up. There's a guy named Del Rios who unabashedly looks like Scott Steiner, like thats his gimmick he looks like Steiner not as jacked though but still does belly to belly's. Abyss without the mask going by his Prince Justice moniker from his NWA Wildside days shows up here too. Jarrett, Slash (Wolfie D), Killings, Apollo, Del Rios, Justice and Konnan are all in the ring, thats seven man in the ring at once time the ring is getting full. Joel Gertner shows up and recites a poem, and introduces Bruce, the former Kwee Wee with his partner Lenny Lane of the rainbow express its a flamboyantly gay gimmick. There's 8 men in the ring now an elimination has to happen soon. Rick Steiner joins the fray, thats 9 now. Tons of WCW presence in this match. Steiner back body drops Slash out of the ring, clotheslines Justice out. Down to 7. Malice the former Wall in WCW in now. Back to 8. Malice chokeslams everybody and I mean everybody he then elimates Bruce, Killings, Rios and Konnan out of the ring. Down to 4, Jarrett, Apollo, Steiner and Malice. Malice eliminates Steiner so its 3 again. Malice has the most eliminations so far with 5, Jarret is 2nd with 3 but jarrett has been in the longest. Apollo has been in the 2nd longest. Scott Halle enters and hits Jarrett with an Outsiders Edge to a loud pop. Toby Keith then enters the ring hits a stalling vertical suplex on Jarrett and along with Hall tosses Jarrett out of the ring. Jarrett gets eliminated by Toby Keith who isn't even int he match at least Hall also tossed Jarrett out so it made sense cuz Russo would have just had Keith do it like it was legal. there's still some logic in TNA, it's only the first show. Chris Harris who had a cup of coffee in WCW is int he ring, Vampire Warrior the former Gangrel shows up the Toby Keith Spot went over and blew his entrance so he just had to run in out of turn. Another WCW alum Devon "Crowbar Storm" is next in. Crowds getting full again with 6. Steve Corino makes it seven also the only former NWA Champion in the match. One of Corino's few TNA appearances shame they didn't use him more also been a fan of Corino's work, way underrated and overlooked. Ken Shamrock is next in. 8 men in the ring now In think it's time for some spring cleaning. Brain Lawler who excuse me is still Brain Christopher at this point is the 20th and final entrant. 11 of the 20 were WCW alum, 10 were WWE alum, 6 were both WCW and WWE alum. 9 men in the ring now. I'm sure it's going to start thinning out. Brain eliminates Harris, Storm, and gangrel in rapid succession, ties eliminations with Jarrett. it's down to 6 men, Corino has been tossed out by Brain. Brain Christopher has the second most eliminations with 4. Shamrock tosses Brain out of the ring. Its down to the final four are Scott Hall, Ken Shamrock, Malice and Apollo. Malice back bodies Apollo out of the ring. Malice moves his record with 6 eliminations. Apollo was in the gauntlet for the longest amount of time, I don't know how long he wa sin the match but he was in it for a long time.. Hall sets up an Outsiders on Malice but Malice back bodies him out of the ring, thats 7 eliminations the most of the match. The final two are Malice and Shamrock, now it's time for the match beyond. Steamboats ref thats pretty cool. The crowd was hot for Shamrock, him and Malice put on a fun 6 minute match. The idea of the final two having to end the match with a pinfall or submission makes it just different enough from The rumble to make it something it's own and not a just Rumble knockouff. Shamrock put's Malice in alot of ankle locks but Malice keeps getting the rope break until Shamrock says fuck it and ignores the break. Crowd still hot for Shamrockand Shamrock locks great here he really does he's in super good shape he was away from wrestling for I wanna say two and a half years but he was in UFC making waves with Tito Ortiz. He was a good choice for NWA Champion, get some mainstream eyes on the product or at least I think that was the thought. When Shamrock got out of the chokeslam and belly to belly's Malice for the 3 the crowd looses it if you were a viewer watching at home you'd have thought Ken Shamrock was big time based on the reaction. Shamrock might actual edge of Toby Keith as the biggest babyface on the show.
Ken Shamrock wins the NWA Championship but Jarrett ends the show with a pull apart with Toby Keith backstage. Jarrett comes to the ring and cuts a promo pouting about not winning the World Title by saying the World rtitle shouldn't be decided by a Battle Royal, Toby Keith and Jackie Fargo come out and thats how we end the show with Jackie Fargo yelling Scott Hall running down and brawling with Jarrett setting up a match for the following week. This is the beginning of Jeff Jarrett having to shoehorn himself in and still everyone else thunder. Jeff Jarrett booking himself on top has alot to do with TNA never really seeing any growth. I could go on a tangent but I won't show was ok. The opener and the Gauntlet for the Gold are about the only thing worth checking out.