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TNA iMPACT! - June 4, 2004

by Scrooge McSuck

AJ Styles

With Impact Wrestling celebrating its 1,000th episode (yeah, who put money on THAT happening?!), why don't we go back to the beginning with Impact 1. We're still in the era of the weekly PPV's, but those days are numbered, and we're also predating the Spike TV era which I assume most fans think of as the launch the following Fall. I remember news of TNA getting a dea on Fox Sports Net, and guess what? I didn't get FSN at the time, just Sun Sports, so I was a little annoyed. Far less than not being able to watch half of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays games (FSN would debut in our area in 2006, and eventually took over all TV rights until the BallySports era of broadcast rights bullsh*t), but hey, we're here to talk about pro wrestling, not baseball.

Taped from Universal Studios in Orlando, FL, with Mike Tenay and Don West (RIP) calling the action, unless otherwise noted.

Hector Garza, The Amazing Red, and Sonjay Dutt vs. Team Canada (Petey Williams, Eric Young, and Bobby Roode) (w/ Scott D'Amore):

Who knew all these years later D'Amore would be the man running the show, and bringing respectability to a company that was knocking on death's door so many times. Garza, Red and are unofficially identified as "Team International" by Tenay. Red is only 21 years old and already a former X-Division Champion. The FSN header lists the match with a time limit clock, a nice touch to differentiate the product (there's also a ticker that lists upcoming matches and past results, another nice touch). Team International opens the match hitting some dives. Dutt goes round and round to take Young over with a spinning head-scissors. Double drop toe hold and basement dropkicks from Dutt and Red. Roode with a knee from the apron, allowing Young to take over. We get a 3-on-1 in the corner while the referee yells at Dutt and Garza to stay on the apron. Red counters a back body-drop but runs into an elbow from Roode. Rude with a slam and Williams comes off the top with an assisted bulldog for two. There's some obnoxious fans in the front row, something I should get used to watching old episodes of Impact. D'Amore gets a shot in as Don West shills their $9.95 Wednesday Night PPV's, a much better deal than anywhere else. GOD BLESS DON WEST. Roode with a delayed vertical suplex and some shots for Garza and Dutt on the apron. Red surprises Young with tornado DDT and makes the tag to Garza. He runs wild with clotheslines and a tilt-o-whirl slam on Williams. Sit-out Powerbomb to Roode. Dutt with a springboard hurricanrana to take out Roode! Young with a wheelbarrow slam on Dutt. Code Red on Young gets two. CANADIAN DESTROYER takes out Red. Roode gets hit with a hurricanrana from Dutt and Garza finishes with a corkscrew moonsault at 6:19. Chaotic ending (a.k.a. The "get your sh*t in" sequence) to an otherwise fine match.

TNA 2-Year Anniversary Flashback! Jeff Jarrett interrupts Toby Keith on the debut show and pays for it when Keith eliminates him from the Championship Battle Royale later in the night.

Shark Boy vs. Abyss:

I don't like Shark Boy's odds. Abyss is one of my early favorites from Impact Wrestling. Tenay and West remind us about his reckless behavior that can only be controlled by GOLDYLOCKS of all people. For those unfamiliar, she was a backstage interviewer/singer who they decided to work into a storyline involving Erik Watts, turning her heel in the process. Shark Boy opens the match with a series of right hands. Abyss with the goozle but Shark Boy fights free by biting his hand. Shark Boy with a dropkick and mounted right hands. He staggers Abyss with a knee to the face but gets caught diving off the top rope. Abyss drops Shark Boy face-first and finishes him with the Black Hole Slam (spinning Boss Man Slam) at 1:18. Fun squash. Post-match, Shark Boy is comforted by POPEYE (they're at Universal Studios, afterall).

NWA World Tag Team Championship Match:
Kid Kash & Dallas © vs. America's Most Wanted:

30-Minute Time Limit. AMW are "Wildcat" Chris Harris and "Cowboy" James Storm, and are already 3-time holders of the Tag Team Titles. I had zero memory of Dallas, then remembered that Dallas is Lance Archer in a past life. The Tag Team Titles are scheduled to be defended on Wednesday Night, where fans are told to vote on TNAWrestling.com to determine the challengers. Kash stalls early, but I doubt we're going the distance. Storm and Kash jockey for control. Kash fights out of a chin-lock and comes off the ropes with a shoulder block. Crisscross and Storm with a monkey flip, followed by a clothesline. Tenay reminds us that titles change hands under any circumstances. Harris with a running bulldog but Dallas makes the save. Kash escapes a waist-lock and hits Storm with a Hot Shot. Dallas tags in for the first time, planting Storm with a slam and dropping Kash across Storm's chest for a two-count. We come back from the commercial with Kash still in control and flicking off the crowd. Kash tries launching himself off Dallas' shoulders and misses the moonsault (planned spot, but he would've been short either way). Harris gets the tag and runs wild on Dallas with left hands and clotheslines. Springboard body press from Harris for a two-count. Whip is reversed and Harris with a diving clothesline. Heck breaks loose with all four men in the ring. Dallas gives Storm the Black Out and Kash comes off the top with a splash. Spear to Kash, then a big boot to Harris from Dallas. Dallas misses another boot, straddling the top rope, and Harris rolls him up for three at 6:27 (shown of 8:55). That came out of nowhere. AMW is now a 4-time holder of the Tag Titles. Nice of them to move the titles onto the face of the division on the debut episode. **

Mike Tenay is in the ring to introduce this week's special judge in the event of time limits expiring: The American Dream, Dusty Rhodes. If you thought some of the generic music WWE used to dub over their shows was terrible, Rhodes' TNA music is just as bad, if not worse. Rhodes is growing a mustache! Oh, and he's shilling the tradition of the NWA. I don't think the NWA and TNA would be in a working relationship for much longer. Last week, Jeff Jarrett became the NWA World Champion for the 3rd time. Dusty thought he was a brother who respected tradition, but he changed his spots for the "ol' mighty dolla!". Jarrett interrupts, questioning what Dusty is doing here. Dusty was in the twilight of his career 20 years ago when Jeff was breaking into the business. Jeff wants to keep him from embarrassing himself over and over. "There's a place for guys like you in this business, and that's not next to the three-time NWA Champion." He offers Dusty to walk away, but Dusty doesn't accept the offer and slaps Jarrett silly with his hat. Dusty unloads with right hands but Jarrett quickly turns things around. Ron Killings saves Dusty but ends up straddling the ropes on a missed heel kick and gets the Kabong treatment. BG James and Konnan run out and James says on Wednesday, Jarrett will answer to the 3 Live Kru.

Hype video putting over the X-Division, with pre-tapes from Mike Tenay, Jerry Lynn, Scott Hudson, and Jeremy Borash. "It's not about weight limits! It's about no limits!"

Shane Douglas is backstage to interview Director of Authority VINCE RUSSO. Russo calls TNA the land of opportunity and won't spoil the 4th participant in the upcoming contender's match.

Chris Sabin vs. Michael Shane vs. "Primetime" Elix Skipper vs. A.J. Styles:

Styles turns out to be the unannounced participant. Winner faces Kazarian on Wednesday for the X-Division Championship. Tenay reminds us that Styles is a former 2-time X-Division, 2-time Tag Team, and 2-time World Champion. Sabin sends Styles into the middle rope with a drop toe hold and unloads on Shane with forearms. Shane counters a whip and drops Sabin across his knee. Skipper launches off the back of Sabin with a sloppy head-scissors on Styles. Shane fights out of a waist-lock but gets caught coming off the ropes with a dropkick to the face. Sabin cuts Styles off with a springboard missile dropkick. Skipper lays out Sabin with a clothesline for two. Skipper bridges out of a body press and hits a leg lariat for another two-count. Shane (a.k.a. "Shawn Michaels' cousin") with a wheelbarrow slam and some showboating. Shane with an implant DDT on Skipper for two. Styles springboards off the ropes and hits an inverted DDT but Sabin saves. Sabin with a springboard DDT on Styles for two. Shane with a snap belly-to-belly suplex on Sabin. He goes to the top but Styles drops him across the top rope. Skipper walks the ropes and takes Shane to the floor with a hurricanrana! Styles lands on his feet to avoid a German Suplex from Sabin, then launches Sabin into Skipper. Styles gets in on the fun and hits the no hands tope con hilo. Back inside, Shane sends Sabin into the post. He sets up for the Super Kick, but Styles surprises him with a sunset flip and finishes with the Styles Clash at 6:21. If you like non-stop car crash action, this is the match for you. It delivered what it promised, and if you like the style, you'll enjoy this match.

Final Thoughts: A solid premiere for fans who may not be familiar with TNA or were never willing to spend $10 a week to follow the shows. They featured their top stars of each division, changed the tag titles back to arguably their best tag team that they can identify as a TNA creation, and gave us a sample of everything you could expect. I think they should've established a legitimate challenger to Jeff Jarrett instead of having 3LK running him off, but casual fans might remember Konnan and BG James (formerly Road Dogg), so I'll accept that as a possible excuse.

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