Looking Back: TNA June 2002 Reviews
As I continue rewatching older wrestling content, I’ve finally reached June 2002. While there’s alot of great stuff going on in WWE with the recent brand split of Raw and Smackdown, there’s a new player in the game. Total Nonstop Action Wrestling. I never watched much TNA until I got back into watching wrestling back in 2012 and did so for a few years until I quietly stopped watching it. I feel like this is a great opportunity for me now to go back and rewatch all this TNA content. It’s going to be fun seeing things from the early days of AJ Styles to past favorite wrestlers of WCW, ECW, and WWE wrestling again. So with that being said, I will write brief reviews on a month by month basis of each event. Depending how things are in the real world is how often I will put up reviews so there isn’t going to be a set deadline on when these go up. With that being said, let’s check out the first events of TNA.
NWA-TNA PPV #1
June 19, 2002
The show started by introducing the commentary team. First is Don West. I have no idea who he is? Ed Ferrera goes from Oklahoma in WCW to a dude with dreadlocks that looks like he was in the band Korn, and Mike Tenay who of course is well known and respected in the commentary game from his days in WCW. Lastly a young bleach blonde Jeremy Borash doing the ring announcing Legends of NWA’s past are introduced to the ring. Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat gets a big pop and has the NWA TNA World Heavyweight Championship belt and announces he will ref Gauntlet for the Gold. A twenty man over the top battle royal will take place and the final two men in the ring will go one on one for the title. Whenever a championship is mentioned, sure enough Jeff Jarrett is going to follow. Jarrett does his usual thing until he gets interrupted by Ken Shamrock complete with sideburns and Scott Hall who was recently dismissed from WWE after the infamous Plane Ride from Hell. Looks like we have some major players in this battle royal.
The first ever match is between the team of AJ Styles Low Ki, and Jerry Lynn against the Flying Elvises. Jimmy Yang (who was in the Yung Dragons of WCW and later was in WWE), Sonny Siaki, and Jorge Estrada. This is billed as an X division match. Short, but very fast paced match. Jerry Lynn hits the Cradle Piledriver to Estrada. Siaki takes out Lynn. Styles kicks Sakai in the head. Styles grabs Yang from behind, but Yang backs Styles into a corner. Low Ki i charges towards the corner and misses the kick and hits Styles when Yang moves. Missile dropkick by Estrada hits Low Ki and Yang off the top with Yang Time and pins AJ Styles. So if you’re ever doing wrestling trivia and want to know who ate the first pinfall in TNA history, it was AJ Styles believe it or not. Trust me though, this didn’t hurt his career.
Goldilocks talks to Teo before the match. Yes TNA has midget wrestling. Teo Vs Hollywood. Dressed like they’re in a street fight. Both bleached hair. Apparently Teo was a ladies man? Teo with a swanton gets the win. Totally E Outstanding is what Teo means apparently. Anyways moving on…..
Preview of next week’s Linguere match to become Miss TNA with Francine who was in ECW. I have no idea who the rest of these girls are. One of them tells Francine extreme isn’t in the title and Francine attacks her and talks trash before leaving. Women’s wrestling has definitely come a long way since these days.
Some Jim Cornette ripoff named Mortimer Plumtree is with Goldilocks backstage with a paddle and introduces his tag team the Johnsons. Richard and Rod.
They come out literally in flesh colored body suits and masks. Psicosis is coming out here wearing red and black cow print pimp suit and Cowboy James Storm. Storm with no facial hair was different to see. I didn’t know he was in TNA since the beginning. Mid match Aleesha came out and it’s pointed out she used to be with the Maestro in WCW. So they’re not going to mention the fact she was Ryan Shamrock as well in WWF and her brother was out there earlier going for the World title? Of course Ferrera has to add his getting pounded by a Johnson inneduo. Storm was way more athletic here than what I’ve seen in the later years. Storm runs into ropes and tripped by the manager Plumtree and then lifted into a finisher by one of the Johnsons and Johnsons win. The ref gave Aleesha money at the end of the match? Interesting… Hopefully Ken Shamrock doesn’t see this, he didn’t take kindly to guys going after his sister back then.
Goldilocks talking to some rednecks known as the Duffs and they’re drinking beer and one of the NWA old timers put an end to that. Then one of the Duffs says who ever heard of getting drunk on beer. I’m also convinced they’re sharing a girlfriend who could be their sister. I later found out it was their cousin.
Sterling Martin and Hermie Sadler of NASCAR are in the ring talking about NASCAR of course and K Krush interrupts the promo saying this is wrestling and tired of hearing about NASCAR and they got no business in the ring. K Krush of course used to be K Kwik in WWF and currently R Truth in WWE. R Truth looks the same now as he did then. Krush says they’re not athletes and his grandma could do what they do. Krush grabs a driver and Brian Lawler goes after Krush. Lawler still dressed as Grandmaster Sexay so he didn’t let that go and the Nascar drivers tossed Krush out of the ring. Lawler then challenges K Krush for next week.
Jarrett is attacking Jackie Fargo backstage for making him go first in the gauntlet of the gold and to remember who the next champ is
Christian York and Joey Matthews who broke out towards the end of ECW head to the ring for a match. Many probably know Matthews as Joey Mercury when he was in WWE. Stan and Bo Dupp with Fluff Dupp who is revealed as cousin and girlfriend are the opponents. Matthews and one Dupp go over the top. Bo hits a tornado DDT and goes up top but Fluff knocks York off the top rope and a rollup by Bo to steal the win. Bo then picks his nose and has a victory snack.
Toby Keith is playing. Wouldn’t expect anything less from a southern based wrestling promotion that already featured nascar. I’ll take WWE’s nu metal bands in 2002 any day over this. Mid song Jarrett steals the microphone from Toby Keith and tells him nobody wants to hear him and he has a world title to win and says how do you like me now. Don’t know if he was taking a shot at Toby Keith or Hardcore Holly?
Gauntlet for the Gold
Jarrett and Buff Bagwell are the first two. A new wrestler enters every ninety seconds. Last two men wrestle in a match. Crowd is hot for Buff, but Jarrett manages to throw him out before the next wrestler comes down. Lash LaRoux is next. The Ragin Cajun of WCW and Jarrett throws him out between the ropes and not the top and Jarrett beats him around ringside. Hits the Stroke back in the ring and Lash is out. Screaming Norman Smiley is next. Norman decides to show off the Big Wiggle which leads to his downfall at the hands of Jarrett. Norman gets The Stroke and is eliminated. Jarrett has three eliminations already and next is Apolo. He’s a big dude and a former champion in Puerto Rico. Apollo’s size makes it a challenge for Jarrett and it’s Apollo having his way with the Chosen One. K Krush is next and saves Jarrett when Apolo had him on the verge of elimination. K Krush is going at it with Apollo while Jarrett rests in the corner briefly. Jarrett now attacks Apollo from behind and is double teamed by Jarrett and K Krush. Dr. James Mitchell leads Slash to the ring who is one of his Disciples of the New Church. Slash used to be Wolfie D of PG-13. Del Rios hits the ring and I swore it was Scott Steiner at first. Bleach blonde hair, sunglasses, even a Superman logo on his trunks. However nowhere near as jacked as Steiner. Next is Justice and no it’s not Sid Justice. Just another generic big guy with long dark hair. Konnan is the next one to enter and gets a loud pop. Konnan looked really good when he first got in the ring hitting a series of moves. Joel Gertner comes out next and he lost some weight from his ECW days. Gertner, Lenny, and Bruce of the Rainbow Express make their presence known. Lenny Lane of course was in WCW and Bruce is the one that hits the ring. Lodi is injured as the commentary team mentioned. Rick Steiner is next and gets a huge pop and the fans give him the dog bark greeting. Steiner is mauling everyone down with clotheslines and the ring is filling up. Steiner heaves Slash over the ropes and he’s gone. Steiner then eliminates Justice giving him two quick eliminations. Next to the ring is Malice who is another Disciple of the new Church of James Mitchell and he’s a monster. Malice used to be The Wall in WCW and I didn’t even recognize him. He’s chokeslamming everybody. Malice picks up the corpse of Bruce and throws him out. K Krush follows him along with Del Rios. Malice is cleaning house. Malice throws Konnan out as well. That’s four quick eliminations by Malice. Rick Steiner tries going for Malice, but Malice ducks him and Steiner is out. Malice and Jarrett double team Apolo but he grabs the ropes. Scott Hall makes his way to the ring now and Malice and Hall are ready. Hall throws down with Jarrett and Malice is battling Apollo. Hall of course has Kliq on the back of his trunks. Hall hits the Edge on Jarrett. Toby Keith enters the ring and hits a vertical suplex on Jarrett. Keith and Hall eliminate Jarrett. Toby Keith is stalking Jarrett to the back. Apollo and Hall joining forces, hitting chops on Malice and Chris Harris is the next man to enter the ring. Vampire Warrior comes out and goes after Harris. Vampire Warrior is better known as Gangrel. Devin Storm, formerly Crowbar in WCW enters next. If i could be serious for a minute, is Devin Storm related to Lance Storm? Steve Corino enters next and is the only former NWA Champion in the battle royal. Ken Shamrock is the next one to enter complete with sideburns. Brian Christopher is next and the final man to enter. Christopher eliminates Harris, Storm, and Vampire Warrior all instantly. Christopher then clotheslines Corino out. Malice chokeslams Christopher when he started dancing. Shamrock grabs Christopher and throws him out. The final four are Malice, Apollo, Hall, and Shamrock. Malice back body drops Apolo over the ropes. Hall grabs Malice for the Edge but goes over the ropes and it’s down to Shamrock and Malice.
Steamboat is the ref and it’s going to be Shamrock vs Malice. Malice is taking it to Shamrock early in this one and rightfully so when he’s 6’9 and well over 300 pounds. Shamrock though won’t go down without fighting and locks a cross armbreaker on Malice. Malice is desperately trying to reach a nearby rope and finally gets it. Malice’s right arm is damaged, but he still keeps going for Shamrock. Malice looks for a boot, but Shamrock catches the foot and locks in the ankle lock. Malice tries crawling to the ropes and with his big size and manages to reach a rope. Shamrock pulls back right away though and Mitchell wants a rope break, but Steamboat doesn’t give it to him. Malice tries reaching for a rope again and gets it. Steamboat starts a count and Malice locks the rope. Shamrock and Steamboat get into it after Steamboat counts him. Shamrock now kicks the leg of Malice to chop the big tree down. The crowd is cheering for Shamrock but he walks into the big boot of Malice. Sets up chokeslam, but Shamrock with the belly to belly suplex and Shamrock wins the NWA Championship.
Jarrett tries going after Toby Keith backstage and of course Jarrett comes out crying in the end saying how can a world title be decided in a battle royal and he starts striking NWA legends at ringside. Jackie Fargo and Toby Keith come out after him. They announce next week Jarrett will fight Scott Hall and Hall comes out after Jarrett and they brawl as the show comes to an end.
NWA TNA PPV #2
June 26, 2002
After a recap of last week’s events, we get started with the first match. Scott Hall takes on Jeff Jarrett. Feels like I’m going back to the mid 1990’s where Jarrett and Razor Ramon are feuding for the Intercontinental Championship. Just need the Roadie to show up and sing “With My Baby Tonight.” Decent match to start the show. Jackie Fargo and Toby Keith with Hall. Hall had the Edge, but K Krush pulled Jarrett down and Krush struck Hall. Fargo then punches K Krush and Brian Christopher chases off K Krush. In the ring Jarrett takes control, but is distracted by Toby Keith. Jarrett is going for the Stroke, but However Toby Keith was in the corner of Scott Hall and proved to be the difference maker. Toby Keith snuck into the ring and low blowed Jarrett with ultimate equalizer. Hall and Keith dropped Jarrett face first in the mat and the ref slides into make the three count.
Brown Eyed Girl accompanies Cheex to the ring. He’s a big boy coming in over 400 pounds. His opponent is already in the ring so anybody that watches wrestling knows how this is going to go. Especially with a generic name like Frank Parker. It was announced that Brian Christopher and Scott Hall will take on K Krush and Jeff Jarrett next week. Cheex using his rear end crushing Parker in the corner. Cheex makes Rikishi’s backside look small. Aleesha confronts ring announcer Jeremy Borash. In the ring, Cheex with the big splash finishes off Frank Parker. Borash hands money to Aleseah. Next week tag team champions will be crowned in a one night tournament.
Recap of the K Krush/Brian Christopher segment with the NASCAR drivers
K-Krush comes to the ring and it doesn’t look like he’s getting rowdy anymore. Brian Christopher comes to the ring accompanied by Sterling Marlin and Hermie Sadler. K Krush and Brian Christopher not only have a wrestling match here, but also showing off who has the most outlandish pants. Krush looks to leave and the NASCAR drivers surround him and pull up the rope on his groin. Christopher has Krush down on the mat and goes up top. Christopher tosses on the goggles and hits the Hip Hop Drop to get the win over K Krush with help from the NASCAR stars.
Lingerie battle royal
Nine girls brawling in the ring in white pajamas. Tyler has been eliminated by Elektra because she was stripped to her bra and panties. So the object is to rip the pajamas off? Sasha is out next thanks to Shannon. Another girl gets eliminated. Meanwhile three girls gang up on Francine and eliminate her. Joanie is the next one out and we’re down to the final four. Francine is distraught by being eliminated and Ed Ferrera of course is comforting her. Francine goes to take Ed’s belt off and instead starts assaulting him ringside with his belt and whipping him around the ring. We of course have no idea what’s going on in the ring. Looks like there’s two women left now. Taylor Vaughn wins Miss TNA and is attacked by Francine. Francine still has the belt and whips Taylor.
Goldilocks is backstage with Apolo about to interview him. Bobcat confronts her and starts yelling at Goldilocks saying she should be interviewing her guy instead David Young. The two girls yell at each other and Golidlocks cut the interview.
Apolo vs David Young. Apolo like last week getting the hype because of his size and the fact he played basketball in Puerto Rico. Young has thirteen years of experience. Bobcat for some reason is flirting with Jeremy Borash. Nobody knows why all the women are going for Borash? David Young is distracted by this of course which almost cost him the match early. Young even hits a spinebuster which is considered his finisher, but continues to be distracted by Bobcat hanging out with Borash. Young goes for a moonsault but misses. Apolo sets up a fireman carry into a stunner and defeats Young.
Joel Gertner is in the ring and talks about his tag team the Rainbow Express and their background. Lenny and Bruce head to the ring and it is mentioned Lodi will be back soon. Tonight they take on the Dobbs. The Dobbs were victorious last week over Christian York and Joey Matthews. They’re not coming out to the ring and turns out they’re backstage saying they’re not wrestling the Rainbow Express. Chris Harris and James Storm are nearby in street clothes and are sent to the ring by the NWA Vice President so now it’s Rainbow Express vs “Wildcat” Chris Harris and James Storm. I’m having Smoking Gunns flashbacks watching Harris and Storm wrestling in blue jeans. Lenny is using at one point a submission called the Tiger Tamer. This isn’t a comparison to Chris Jericho’s Lion Tamer at all and I remember people thinking Jericho and Lenny Lane looked alike back in the WCW days. Harris manages to steal the match with a rollup pin on Lenny.
Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat introduces the NWA-TNA World Champion Ken Shamrock. Shamrock talks about defending the title with honor and pride and his career around the world. Minister James Mitchell interrupts Shamrock and says that he is on a mission and the Disciples of the New Church will take the title. Mitchell then challenges Shamrock to face one of his Disciples for the title next week. Mitchell then introduces Slash when the commentary team assumed it’d be Malice. Shamrock laid the belt on the mat and challenged them to take it from him. Malice snuck up from behind and chokeslammed Shamrock and started choking him out on the mat. Security couldn’t stop Malice and it wasn’t until Mitchell said so that he stopped.
The main event is the Fatal Four Way Elimination Match to determine the first ever NWA TNA X Division Champion. It’s double elimination so the men will wrestle matches until there’s only one man left standing. It was noted there was some controversy because the Flying Elvises won the match last week, but it’s Low Ki, AJ Styles, and Jerry Lynn in the title match along with Psicosis. Styles and Psicosis start the match. The two men go at it, but it’s a Psicosis hurricana turned into a Styles Clash that gives Styles the first win. Then Low Ki moves in vs Styles. These two had a solid exchange that went on for several minutes. Low Ki several times had AJ on the brink of defeat. In the end of this clash, a German suplex turned into a facebuster gives AJ a win and Jerry Lynn runs in and hits the Cradle Piledriver and scores a quick win. We’re back to Psicosis and he enters missile dropkick. However he was no match for Jerry Lynn and a Cradle Piledriver ends it and Psicosis is officially eliminated. Low Ki is next for Lynn. Low Ki gave Lynn his best. Lynn was looking for the Cradle Piledriver, Low Ki turned it into an armbar, but Lynn slams down the Cradle and finishes off Low Ki. It’s down to AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn and Lynn has the advantage. Styles with a discus, but not enough to beat Lynn. Quickly Styles hits the Styles Clash and now Ricky “The Dragon” Steamboat is in ring for final fall. The funny thing here is if Jerry Lynn would’ve beat Styles, then there would’ve been no point for Ricky to be in there for the final fall. Next fall wins. Lots of fast counter pins early. Hurricarana countered into a facebuster. Followed with a brainbuster and a pin, but no!!!! The battle of the fourteen year veteran Jerry Lynn and three year prodigy AJ Styles rages on. Thought it was over after a top rope superplex by Lynn, but Styles stays alive. Styles gets put on the top turnbuckle by Lynn. Lynn goes up and punches him, but Styles shoved Lynn off and Styles hits some twisting senton move called Spiral Tap and wins the X division championship. Awesome match! However it’s not a surprise between all the great matches I’ve seen involving either AJ Styles or Jerry Lynn. I’ll be interested to see them clash again in the future if it happens.
That concludes this review of TNA from June 2002. I’ll be back soon to review the events from July 2002. Thanks for reading.