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TNA: Styles surprises in title win
By JASON CLEVETT -- SLAM! Wrestling


Last night's TNA show centered around who exactly would face world champion Jeff Jarrett for the title inside the steel cage. After a lengthy build up, Chris Harris defeated Raven to get his shot at Double-J inside the steel cage. It was not to be however, as an assault by Raven took him out, and the rest of the night was spent debating who would replace him.

The show kicks off with Monty Brown threatening to hunt you down if you steal cable.

The show kicked off with a great video package leading up to the big main event, inside a steel cage between NWA Champion Jeff Jarrett and Chris Harris and the tag match with Monty Brown & Abyss facing Sabu & Raven.

Match 1 - Monty Brown & Abyss vs. Raven and Sabu.

And speak of the devil, as the Alpha Male heads down to the ring to team with Abyss, Tenay immediately gets into whether or not they will get along. Abyss’ mystery girl doesn’t go to the ring with the masked man. Raven was nowhere to be found as Sabu gets double-teamed. The crowd chants Sabu but it doesn’t help him not get beat up. This whole dynamic confuses me, Brown and Sabu are faces, and Abyss and Raven are heels, yet they are on opposite sides? Sabu finally takes advantage of a miscommunication with Brown and Abyss and introduces Abyss’ head to a chair. Brown gets the same and a triple-jump moonsault for a two-count. Arabian facebuster on Abyss also gets two. Abyss and Brown come back and the falling torture rack by Abyss ended the match, no sign of Raven. Goodie, another recycled ECW feud.

Winners: Monty Brown and Abyss.

Speaking of Raven, camera cut to the back where he and Chris Harris were brawling. Raven worked on the left shoulder with chairs and the barricade, putting his title opportunity in doubt. Finally Storm came to the rescue.

Jeremy Borash subs for Scott Hudson (who was in a car accident earlier this week) and interviews X-division champion Frankie Kazarian. They talk about Sonjay Dutt vs. Amazing Red in a best of three matches to get a title shot. Frankie is apparently the king of hip, I can see that on a T-shirt as we speak. David Young rambles as well.

Match 2 - David Young vs. Sharkboy.

Sharkboy makes his long-awaited return to TNA. Screen-within-screen shows an ambulance arriving at the Asylum. The dull match features Tenay and West talking about the greatest losers of all time. Sharkboy teases a Deep-Sea Driver, Young fights back for a superplex, gets shoved off but Shark’s splash misses. I know it’s going to come as a shocker with the entire match focusing on Young’s losing streak, but Shark gets a small package for the win.

Winner: Sharkboy

3 Live Kru heads to the ring in fatigues. Konnan rants about people getting shots based on ass kissing instead of ability. Um, pot calling kettle black there buddy. B-Jizzle rants and says that Raven sucks in the ring. I swear these guys are cutting promos while looking in a mirror. Debate starts to rage about who gets into the cage instead of the Wildcat. 3LK demand that Killings gets the shot.

Harris, Russo and Storm are at the ambulance. A morose looking Harris with separated shoulder tells Russo “I’ve come this far, do one thing for me. Put Storm in the match.” Russo walks off.

Match 3 - Gilberti & Swinger vs. Siaki & Diamond.

Sorry but those names just don’t gel like “Simon and Swinger.” Diamond is not happy about his robe being shredded by his former partner. Siaki dominates Gilberti in the early moments, including hitting the CHART BUSTER!! Using his own former finisher! Swinger drags Glen out so Diamond brings his former partner in with a suplex and dominates. The two sides brawl on the arena floor Siaki pulls the steps away from the corner and uses them as a launching pad to clothesline Gilberti. Diamond & Siaki actually work pretty well together and have some good teamwork. The Italians come back and work over Diamond. Simon finally tags in Siaki who starts wrestling like The Rock, go figure. Siakilypse is broken up by Gilberti. Trinity shoves her former boy Siaki off the top and a double-underhook DDT gives Swinger the win. Desire makes her return after nearly a year and gets into it with Trinity. Desire and Siaki hug.

Winners: Gilberti & Swinger.

Jeremy Borash asks Vince Russo his decision. Russo asks for suggestions, and AJ Styles throws his name in the hat. The two air their dirty laundry, apparently Russo has been stalking Styles for six weeks.

A video package reviews the problems in the Franchise to promote Christopher Daniels vs. Michael Shane. Daniels’ promo is simply awesome, pointing out a scar caused by Shane.

Match 4 – Winner joins Team TNA in the X-Cup - Michael Shane vs. Christopher Daniels

Match starts off fast and furious as expected from two guys of this caliber. Daniels ducks a slap and smacks Shane across the face. Douglas on commentary suggests that he could win the belt and throw it in the garbage again, in reference to him doing that exact thing with the NWA belt while in ECW in 1993. Things slow down as Shane takes over and locks Daniels in a abdominal stretch and assistance from Traci Brooks. Daniels gets a brief comeback before a belly-to-belly suplex swings the momentum back to Shane. The Fallen Angel finally rallies back with a t-bone suplex and a modified powerbomb for a close two count. Shane heads up top and sends Shane straddling the rope in a nasty drop. Douglas tries to rally Shane and pushes Shane out of the way, taking a split-legged moonsault instead. Shane shoves him out of the way as he goes after Daniels. Best Moonsault Ever only gets a two count. Douglas has a chain. A superkick takes Daniels head off for two. Daniels set up the last rites, Douglas hit him with the chain. Shane refused to take the pin with help and wound up for a superkick. Daniels side steps the kick and hits the STO for the win.

Winner: Christopher Daniels.

Lynn, Skipper & Sabin welcome Daniels to the team, and I have to welcome him too, because Daniels in the X-Cups = TNA gets my money. Daniels vs. Johnny Devine = Jason Clevett jumping up and down in joy.

Douglas and Shane argue and Shane slaps Shane (Guess which did which, hehe). Douglas starts disrobing and belts Michael ... literally. The whipping ensues until Shane hits a few rights, but the evil veteran pokes him in the eyes. Traci turns on Douglas and chokes him with the belt, allowing M. Shane to hit a superkick and end that relationship. Black shirts finally break it up.

The drama continues as Borash again asks a stressed Vince Russo who gets the shot in the cage. Abyss shows up with Goldylocks in a wig who, um, does the worst Spanish talk ever. Lets pretend that didn’t happen.

Recap of the Tag Title Situation in TNA

Match 5 - NWA Tag Team Titles - D-Lo Brown & Apollo (champions) vs. Kid Kash & Dallas (Challengers.)

Kash & Dallas were champions for all of a week, when Dallas cost them the belts via DQ. Apparently the title can change hands that way, which confused not only Dallas but half the viewership as well.

Kash & Dallas attack from behind but the champs come back. Apollo presses Kash and tosses him onto his partner, who catches him and sets him down. D-Lo flies, taking them out and then Apollo flies!!! Holy crap he’s huge too! The champs dominate Kash until he tags Dallas who matches up better to Apollo size wise. I can’t help but wonder if Dallas is Test with a dye job. Kash seems off tonight and is taking bumps badly, including a spinning uranage that takes out the referee. Dallas brings in the pipe, Apollo grabs it and surprise surprise, the referee catches them and again new tag champs.

Winners: By DQ and new tag champions: Kid Kash & Dallas.

It’s time! We need to know who gets the title shot! Raven comes in and Vince blows his top at him. There’s potentially 40 minutes left in the show for the cage. Depending on who it is this could be a great match. Raven argues his case, that if the goal is to take the belt off of Jarrett, Raven is the man to do it. “I am the lesser of two evils.” Russo makes his decision and shakes Raven’s hand making it evident it won’t be Raven.

X-Cup video promo for May 26. All the teams will be involved, 5 different matches ... including ULTIMATE X 3! The possibilities of what guys like Jack Evans, Teddy Hart, Jerry Lynn, Aguilla, Daniels, Johnny Devine, heck just about anyone on the teams in that match makes me salivate. That will be a must-see show.

Tenay and West continue to kill time while the cage is set up by running down matches for next week.

Interview with Jarrett. It’s been almost a year since Raven’s challenge to Jarrett was one of the most anticipated matches in TNA. No, I am not kidding -- the heat for that match was incredible, and it was a hell of a match. The match featured a run in with Sabu, Justin Credible and Perry Saturn. Amazing how things change in one year.

Video package of Jarrett’s run since defeating Styles on Oct 22, 2003, including footage of him attacking Hulk Hogan to set up that miserable failure, as well as footage of him in Mexico and Australia.

Match 6: No DQ Steel Cage NWA Championship Match == Jeff Jarrett vs. ??

Jarrett makes his entrance with no official word to the challenger. I start a “AJ” chant in my living room. It’s now 25 minutes till the end of possible air, so about 15 minutes for the match. Russo makes his entrance…and says that Chris Harris will get a title match when he is healthy. Raven is shown warming up, and things continue to get dragged out ... this is like American Idol where they keep making you go “for gods sake say it!” It’s not Storm, it’s not Abyss, and it’s not Truth despite the crowd chanting his name. Vince uses Raven’s real name of Scott Levy. Vince Russo has seen the light, which means that Vince Russo will not make a deal with the devil -- Raven -- so, after reaching down into his heart he announces ... AJ STYLES!!

YESSS!!!!!!!!!

The two wrestlers circle and try and get at each other right away before starting off with mat wrestling before having a shoving match. The crowd heat for the match is off the charts, with fans chanting Styles’ name and “Jarrett sucks” throughout. Styles drops down, high leapfrog and connects with a dropkick, everything Styles does gets a huge pop from the rabid Asylum crowd. The cage didn’t play into the match until Styles attempted his springboard moonsault and was caught and driven headfirst into the cage, followed by being rammed into the cage twice more. A superplex attempt is blocked but Styles misses a top rope dropkick and Jarrett locks on a sharpshooter. Why not, it worked for the defending champion on Sunday. Styles does a unique reversal, rolling it over and applying one himself, but neither wrestler really applied it well. Jarrett didn’t catch Styles properly during a second attempt at the moonsault DDT, so Styles pulled him up and then dropped him. Jarrett ducked a discus lariat, allowing Jarrett to toss powder in his eyes and hit a backslide for a two. While the referee is checking on Styles Jarrett pulls a chain out of his boots and nails Styles for another two. AJ elbows out of the stroke but is booted and set up for his own finisher, the Styles Clash. AJ reverses into a hurricanrana and rolls back into his own Styles clash as the crowd explodes and counts one ... two... and Jarrett’s shoulder shoots up. AJ climbed to the top of the cage but Jarrett shoved the referee into the cage, causing the entire audience to groan as Styles fell on to the top and hung by his arms before flying back to earth by Jarrett running into the cage. The crowd chants “Holy S***” and rightfully so.

There has to be a winner so the cage is unlocked and Jarrett drags Styles and his guitar into the cage. Vince Russo us outside the cage trying to climb in and prevent Jarrett from using the guitar. Jarrett swings and Styles nails a enziguri to the guitar and shatters it. Jarrett looks stunned, swings the remains and is trapped in a crucifix for the three count!

Winner: And NEW NWA Champion: AJ Styles.

The crowd goes insane as Styles becomes a two-time NWA champion. Russo offers his hand outside the ring, Styles slaps it away and hugs Russo as Raven looks on in disgust to end the show.

Fans will be critical of the win, wondering if it is just an attempt to placate Styles and fans for pulling him and other talent off of Ring of Honor shows. Regardless, Styles’ first run as champion was tainted by constant interference despite him having some great matches. Hopefully this run as a face will result in more fantastic matches, and better booking for him as champion.


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  • Order some old-school A.J. Styles:
    >FWA 'British Uprising' (10-13-02): A.J. Styles, Fleisch, Williams vs. Lynn, and more VHS

    Jason Clevett is from Calgary, Alberta and a huge AJ Styles fan. He spent last night partying on 17th Avenue and whooping up Styles’ championship win with thousands of other fans.