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NWA-TNA ON PPV
No Surrender 2006
September 25, 2006

by Jason Longshore
Exclusive to OnlineOnslaught.com

 

There’s far too much to get into to waste time with a rambling intro on this PPV. We’ll start with the pre-show. Tenay and West talked about the “major announcement” for approximately 28 of the 30 minutes. Bobby Roode did win a surprisingly competitive match against a jobber named Vaughn Doring (or something like

that, they never showed us a graphic on the guy). He still doesn’t have a manager yet.

The PPV intro was absolutely insane this time around. They used clips of various political figures (including Bush, JFK, Robert Kennedy, FDR) discussing conflict and war, and wove that into the LAX storyline and the rest of the card. I’m sure it will end up on YouTube, check it out for yourself. Great intro, even if it was even more over the top than usual.

Eric Young leads his band of misfit fans to the ring for…

ERIC YOUNG V. A-1

A-1 is not impressed with Eric’s antics. Young bails and leads the fans like a conductor to boo A-1 and cheer him. A-1 comes after him and the fans boo on cue. A cross body block off the top gets Young a two count. A-1 takes control with a powerslam. He chokes Eric and hits a splash in the corner. Young avoids a second splash attempt, but A-1 ends up tossing him to the floor. Back in the ring, A-1 puts the boots to Eric. Eric is able to escape and hit an EY Press. Young does a Flair flip over the top rope and drops an elbow on A-1 off the top. A-1 gets a roll up, but Slick Johnson catches his feet on the ropes. A-1 goes for a Tombstone, but Young counters it. It looks like he almost drops A-1 on his head, but he’s just setting up his wheelbarrow neckbreaker finisher. Eric wins, and still gets to keep his job.

Borash busted into Cornette’s office, and Jim wasn’t pissed off this time. He was positively glowing about the upcoming announcement, and he told us that a wrestler who was not on the card would be making the big announcement.

PETEY WILLIAMS V. JAY LETHAL

Lethal doesn’t show up when his music hits. They cut backstage and he’s playing video games with Sabin and Sonjay. They say something about putting laxatives in Petey’s water. Petey doesn’t believe it. Lethal puts his boots on while he’s walking to the ring.

They trade moves early, with Petey finally sending Lethal into the guardrail on the outside. Petey kicks away and brings him back in the ring to continue the assault. A slam and a leg drop gets a two count. Lethal comes back with elbows, but he eats an enziguiri and a dropkick for another two count. Petey appears to be having stomach difficulties now. Petey gets a roll up and tries to end the match as quickly as possible. A Petey neckbreaker gets another two count, and the smell is starting to get to everyone in the ring now. Petey sets Lethal up in the Tree of Woe, but can’t climb the ropes. Sonjay comes out to taunt him with the laxative box. Lethal starts using some ring psychology, working over Petey’s gut with kicks, punches, and a gutbuster for a two count. Petey comes back with his sweet bearhug DDT that he used on Impact. Petey starts calling for the Destroyer, but is struggling. The crowd starts a “Hold it in,” chant. Lethal counters the Destroyer, and Petey tries to leave. Jay rolls him up for the win, and Petey sprints up the ramp.

Borash interviews Rhino backstage. He asks Rhino about the doctors recommending not competing tonight. Rhino doesn’t listen to doctors, but seems to be having problems every time he gets a little too intense. Those chair shots from Christian are having their effect. Rhino calls Christian a heartless bastard.

NO DQ: RAVEN V. BROTHER RUNT V. ABYSS

Runt comes in fired up, nailing both guys with a trash can lid. They team up on him though, repeatedly slamming him into the corner. Raven goes after Abyss next. Runt comes back after pulling more plunder from under the ring. He sets up a trash can in the corner and wails on everybody with a kendo stick. Raven and Runt work together to slam Abyss head first into the trash can in the corner. Runt knocks Raven to the outside, but Abyss then press slams Runt onto Raven on the ramp. Raven doesn’t care for that, and hits a side Russian leg sweep on Runt into the guardrail. They head back to the ring. Abyss holds Runt, but ends up taking a trash can shot from Raven when Runt ducks. Runt comes back swinging a trash can lid and cookie sheet with all his might. He then headbutts Raven and Abyss in the stomach/crotch region. Raven one-ups Runt by putting on a gladiator helmet and headbutting him. He then hits a falling headbutt on Runt’s balls. Raven takes Abyss out with headbutts with the helmet. He brawls up the ramp with Runt. Runt charges, and Raven gives him a drop toe hold, which sends Runt down the entrance tunnel. Tenay and West fear for his safety, saying there’s a five foot drop at the end of the tunnel. Abyss attacks Raven on the stage and sets up a table. Abyss then sets up a ladder, but Raven recovers in time to blast Abyss repeatedly with a trash can. He sets Abyss on the table and climbs the ladder. Runt comes flying over the top of him, from the top of the set, with a double stomp on Abyss! He didn’t get him clean, catching Abyss’ side, arm, and shoulder and sending them both to the floor. Raven takes advantage and puts a dog collar on Runt and drags him all over the arena. He drags him behind the announce table and reveals a double stack of tables covered with a sheet. That wily Raven, always planning. They climb a scaffold, and Raven drags Runt up the scaffold by the chain. Ouch! They fight it out after a Runt low blow, but Raven sends him crashing through the tables. Raven goes for a pin, but the ref tells him that pins only count in the ring. I guess that Gladiator helmet didn’t protect Raven’s senses. Raven drags Runt to the ring, but only gets a two count when Mitchell drapes Runt’s foot on the ropes. Raven chases after Mitchell, but Abyss is back in time to give him the Black Hole Slam and end the match.

Borash is backstage with Jeff Jarrett. He comments on Jarrett’s odd attire tonight. He’s wearing a robe, and about 87 T-shirts. Jarrett says he’s trying sell merchandise, since no one else in TNA can do it. He then says that everyone who reads the internet already knows what the announcement is, saying that TNA is ripping off the fans by making them pay money to hear it. He also deduces that Sting is the one who will be making the big announcement. Eric Young shows up and apologizes for not being able to find Sting in Los Angeles. Jarrett sends him off to find Sting now, and tells him to not let Sting interfere in his match.

TAG TEAM BATTLE ROYAL TO BECOME #1 CONTENDERS: AMW V. THE NATURALS V. KAZARIAN/MAVERICK MATT V. DIAMONDS IN THE ROUGH V. RON KILLINGS/LANCE HOYT V. SHARK BOY/NORMAN SMILEY V. THE PAPARAZZI V. JAMES GANG

Okay, here’s the rules on this one. All 16 men start it out with battle royal, over the top rules. The team is eliminated when both members are tossed over the top rope. The final two men bring their partners back and we have a standard tag match to decide it.

The match was just a complete, chaotic brawl to start out. AMW pulled a page from the Road Dogg playbook and hid on the outside. Storm should have hugged the bottom rope, that would’ve been funnier. Norman hits the Big Wiggle on Elix Skipper, and Skipper replies by tossing him out. Chase Stevens hits a DVD on Harris and climbs to the top. Storm pushes Stevens off and into the crowd, where he takes out a couple of fans. Somebody’s getting some autographs after the show, eh? Killings and BG face off in the ring, and Tenay and West talk about their past history with the 3 Live Kru. Instead of starting with punches, they start with a dance-off before the punches start flying. Someone should have attacked them while they were dancing. Shelley finally eliminates them both. It comes down to Chris Harris and James Storm of AMW, Kip James, and Andy Douglas. Kip tries to toss Storm, but he skins the cat. Kip doesn’t care and kicks Storm off the ropes to eliminate him. The Paparazzi and Matt/Kazarian brawl on the ramp about something that happened in the match. Kip tosses Harris with a hurricanrana, so it will be the James Gang v. The Naturals in the final. But wait, the refs were dealing with the brawl on the ramp and didn’t see the elimination. Harris sneaks back in and tosses the unsuspecting Kip to set up a Naturals v. AMW final. The James Gang are pissed.

They drag Stevens out of the crowd and he crawls up the stairs to get back into the match. He wrecked his ankle when he was knocked out into the crowd. Douglas is getting killed in the ring, but Stevens can’t be tagged in yet. Every time Stevens gets to the apron, either Storm or Harris knock him off again. Storm kills Douglas with a basement dropkick. Storm hits the Eye of the Storm on Douglas next. They call for the Death Sentence, but the James Gang is back to cut them off. Douglas is finally able to get a tag to Stevens. Storm goes for another Eye of the Storm, but Stevens surprises him with a roll up for the win.

Shane Douglas comes out and he loves The Naturals again. He says that not only is he proud of them, but the fans are proud of them as well. The James Gang and AMW talk trash as they head up the ramp.

X DIVISION TITLE: SENSHI (C) V. CHRIS SABIN

The match starts out pretty slowly, and much more mat-based than past X Division title matches. Senshi takes control with kicks. They trade chops in the middle of the ring. Sabin scores with a slingshot senton for a two count. Sabin goes for a suplex, but Senshi knees him in the head. Senshi hits a running dropkick for a two count. Senshi scores with his crazy, angry man elbow drop for another two count. Senshi continues to chop the ever loving crap out of Sabin. Chris tries to fire back, but always comes up on the short end of it. Senshi gets a two count with his angry kick to the back of Sabin’s head. Sabin comes back with a sweet dropkick that sends Senshi to the floor. Sabin goes for a suicide dive, but Senshi just kicks him square in the head as he tries to come through the ropes. More chops are traded, but Senshi ends up draping Sabin across the middle rope. He climbs to the top and hits the double stomp across Sabin’s back! More chops, with Senshi still getting the best of it. You can see the bruising already on Sabin’s chest. Sabin catches Senchi on a kick attempt and scores a leg whip. He then hits a running big boot to Senshi in the corner and sets up for the Hesitation Dropkick. Senshi fights out, but ends up eating a tilt-a-whirl backbreaker. Sabin gets a two count with a sweet missile dropkick. Senshi comes back with more kicks. They battle up top, until Sabin is finally able to hit his Hesitation Dropkick. Sabin goes for a powerbomb after the pin attempt, but Senshi counters. Senshi hits a standing double stomp and he goes up top. Lethal and Sonjay show up with a blow-up doll in a Sabin outfit. Sabin rolls out of the way and they put the doll in his place. Senshi avoids the doll with the Warrior’s Way. Sabin comes back with a clothesline, sets the doll on top of Senshi, and then goes up top. The crowd starts a “This is stupid” chant. Senshi throws the doll in Sabin’s face and hits a really nasty basement dropkick on the both of them. He gets the win with his feet on the ropes. Sabin carries his busted blow-up doll up the ramp.

Christian interviews with Borash backstage. He doesn’t care if Sting shows up tonight to try to steal his spotlight. He cuts his standard cocky promo about how he’s the biggest star in TNA and everyone should be glad he’s here.

CHRISTIAN CAGE V. RHINO

Rhino starts out tentatively, playing up his concussed state. Christian escapes a press slam and goes for an early Unprettier, which is countered. Rhino takes the early advantage due to his power. Christian tosses Rhino to the outside. Rhino gets back on the apron and backdrops Christian all the way to the floor in a nice spot. Rhino beats Christian all the way up the bleachers. Christian blocks getting tossed over the back of the bleachers, but then gets knocked back down the stairs. Rhino misses a charge at Christian up against the bleacher wall and cracks his head and shoulder on it. Christian breaks out the Implant DDT on the ramp. Edge has flashbacks watching at home. Rhino’s busted open and Christian attacks the cut. A running kick gets a two count. Christian slams Rhino back down by the hair. He hits a missile dropkick for another two count. Christian follows that up with an inverted DDT and the frog splash for another two count. He chops Rhino in the corner, but Rhino falls down before Christian can hit the splash. Rhino comes back with shoulder blocks, and gets a two count after a belly to belly suplex. Christian goes for another Unprettier, but Rhino counters with a “high angle” Spinebuster. Christian comes back by raking the eyes and finally hits the Unprettier. Rhino kicks out at 2.99, I think that’s the first time anyone’s kicked out of the Unprettier in TNA. Rhino hits a TKO for another two count. He goes for a clothesline, but ends up getting the ref instead. Christian takes Rhino down, but there’s no ref to count. He goes to get a couple of chairs instead. He whiffs on the Conchairto when Rhino gets up in time. Rhino hits the Gore, but the ref is still out. Rhino decides to go for a Conchairto of his own, but the ref is up to stop him by yanking the chair away. Christian takes advantage while the ref is turned and low blows Rhino. He then quickly hits the Unprettier again on the other chair, kicks it out of the ring, and gets the pin.

Eric Young thinks he’s found Sting’s car backstage. Unfortunately for him, all he finds is LAX. They chase Young off and talk trash about AJ and Daniels.

Don West did an interview in the empty ImpactZone earlier in the day with AJ and Daniels. They talk about their hatred for Konnan, and Daniels names AJ as the Patron Saint of the Phenomenal and he delivers the gospel according to the Fallen Angel.

ULTIMATE X FOR THE NWA WORLD TAG TEAM TITLES: LAX (C) V. AJ STYLES/CHRISTOPHER DANIELS

Borash shows up for the super special ring announcing. They brawl at the beginning in a shocking swerve! Hernandez tosses AJ across the ring from a bearhug. AJ goes up to the cables, but Homicide swings him off and he lands neck first across the top rope. Homicide tosses Daniels to the floor and hits an insane suicide dive on him. Homicide actually looked like he overshot it a bit and clattered off a wall in the bleachers. Daniels blocks a Hernandez charge and locks in the Koji Clutch. Homicide comes back to make the save. AJ comes back, but gets Border Tossed by Hernandez. Hernandez goes for a ladder and Konnan distracts the ref. AJ makes the save, Homicide gets smacked with the ladder and Hernandez gets crotched on the ladder leg. Daniels tosses the ladder back out. AJ and Daniels both go to the cables, but are cut off. Daniels gets tossed to the floor by Hernandez. AJ gets beaten down in the ring, while Konnan sneaks in some kicks to Daniels on the floor. Hernandez climbs, but AJ hits the Springboard Angry Man Forearm Smash to knock him off the cables. Homicide blasts AJ with a chair and climbs the cables. His shoulder is bothering him, so he’s slowed down a bit. AJ gets up there as well and cuts him off. Homicide switches gears and hits a Diamond Cutter from the cables on AJ! Daniels is back and goes up top, but Hernandez cuts him off. He teams with Homicide on the Doomsday Bulldog. Hernandez goes back to the cables. Daniels hits an STO on Homicide in the ring and AJ yanks Hernandez down on top of Homicide. AJ hits a sweet Pele on Hernandez, but Homicide comes back with the classic eye poke. AJ counters with his Asai DDT out of the corner. AJ goes for a suplex on Hernandez, but it’s blocked. Daniels comes over to help and they hit a sweet combo suplex/neckbreaker. Homicide comes back to take AJ down, but misses on the frog splash. AJ and Daniels hit the Hi-Lo on Homicide, but Hernandez comes back to double clothesline them both out of their boots. Konnan sets up a table on the outside and Hernandez goes to toss AJ through it. Daniels makes the save. He takes Hernandez down with a Rock Bottom, AJ follows with a frog splash, Daniels follows with the BME, and AJ follows that with the Spiral Tap! Homicide takes Daniels down. He fights with AJ on the apron above the table. AJ gets the better of and hits the Styles Clash from the apron through the table on the floor! Konnan beats AJ with the slapjack on the outside. Hernandez and Daniels battle on the turnbuckle and Daniels tosses him off. Konnan goes after Daniels with a kendo stick, but Daniels hides behind the Ultimate X rigging. He climbs the outside of it to the very top. Instead of climbing the cables, Daniels just dives all the way across from the top of the rigging to the belts in one of the riskiest moves I’ve seen! He pulls down the belt and we have new champions!

The crowd goes insane and AJ and Daniels celebrate in the crowd.

Joe’s music hits and he comes to the ring. Jarrett is backstage and Eric Young finds him. He says he’s looked everywhere and can’t find Sting. Jarrett asks him if he’s looked in the rafters. Young says, “You think he’d be up there?” Jarrett is dumbfounded.

FANS’ REVENGE: JEFF JARRETT V. SAMOA JOE

Jarrett and his 87 shirts hit the ring. Jarrett is wary of locking up with Joe, but he can’t bail out of the ring like he usually does either. Joe gets the early advantage and tries to toss Jarrett out to the floor. Jeff slides back in under the bottom rope. Joe tries to toss him again but Jarrett slithers back in again. He’s crafty, that Jeff Jarrett. Joe rips off one of Jarrett’s shirts. Finally, Jarrett gets tossed to the floor and whipped by some of the fans. Jarrett comes back and tosses Joe, with Joe crashing into the guardrail as a result. The fans of course try to help Joe up, which pisses Jarrett off. He runs out there to get Joe and gets whipped in the process. However, Jarrett was able to swipe a strap and starts using it on Joe. You can’t underestimate the wiliness of Jeff Jarrett. He chokes Joe with the strap repeatedly. Joe tries to come back, but Jarrett clotheslines him down again. A cross body block off the top by Jarrett gets a two count. Jarrett goes for it again, but Joe side steps it. Joe hits his running big boot and follows it up with a senton for a two count. Joe rips the rest of Jarrett’s shirts off and chops him. Jarrett comes back with an eye poke, but gets taken out to the apron where the fans get their whips in. Someone tosses a strap to Joe and he continues the whipping in the ring. Jarrett counters with a sweet dropkick to reverse the momentum. That gets a two count, as does a powerslam by Joe. Jarrett goes for a roll up for another two count. Jarrett uses the shirts in the ring to choke Joe now. Jarrett tries to tie Joe up to the ropes with a strap, but Joe reverse it and ties Jarrett’s arm to the top rope. He whips Jarrett and invites the fans in for shots. The refs are out to put a stop to that. Jarrett bails, and gets whipped some more. He does grab his trusty gee-tar though. He misses and Joe locks in a choke. Jarrett is able to get to the ropes to break the hold. Joe is pissed and he knocks the ref over. Jarrett takes advantage and scores with a low blow. He follows up with a Stroke on the gee-tar, but Joe kicks out. Jarrett goes for slaps on Joe, which just fires him up. They brawl in the corner, and Jarrett sets him up for a second rope Stroke. Joe fights back, hits an insane enziguiri kick to stun Jarrett and nails the Muscle Buster for the win. Joe keeps his undefeated streak going.

Joe leaves the ring, goes to the announce table, and takes the NWA World Title belt with him as he heads up the ramp. Cornette comes out with a mic and confronts Jarrett in the ring. He laughs at Jarrett and says that he and Joe might want to stick around for the big announcement. Cornette says that on November 16, Impact will move to 9:00 pm in prime time. He thanks the fans of TNA for making that happen. Jarrett says something, and Cornette reminds him that a wrestler was going to make the “big announcement”, the time slot change was just his own announcement. He throws it to a video for the “big announcement”…

You see a shadowy guy in a ring. The voice over starts with, “He is a former World Heavyweight Champion.” You see the guy holding an American flag behind him and voice over says, “An Olympic gold medalist, and arguably the greatest wrestler in the industry today.” You finally get to see his face, and the voice over says, “Angle is coming to TNA.” It ends with a close up of a smirking Kurt Angle saying, “It’s real, it’s damn real.”

Holy shit.

POINTS OF RANDOMNESS

· The guy who won the “I Hate Jeff Jarrett” contest lives down the street from me. No, I don’t know him. I do feel pretty bad for him after putting him in that strong-man contest on the pre-show, especially after the older guy showed him up.

· Tenay and West had to change their pants after hyping the announcement over and over again in the pre-show and early in the PPV. Maybe that’s why they toned it down as the show went on, or maybe they just realized they actually had a live PPV to call before the announcement was made.

· EY v. A-1 was fine for what it was, a comedy match. Young was great in his role, and A-1 didn’t screw anything up.

· Are they trying to make Sabin, Lethal, and Dutt heels with their stupid Jackass tactics? I can’t believe anyone would think that stuff would get them over as faces.

· Petey should have turned the situation to his favor and used the Super Atomic StinkFace of Doom. That would’ve taught those young ruffians a lesson.

· Rhino plays concussed even better than Randy Orton.

· Fun hardcore match with Runt, Raven, and Abyss. The nearly missed double stomp by Runt off the top of the entrance and Raven dragging Runt up the scaffold by the dog collar and chain were the highlights. I have to give Raven props on the Gladiator helmet too, that was a nice touch. You can always count on Raven to bring strategy to a hardcore brawl.

· Borash calling Jarrett out on his clothes is like Lance Bass questioning his bandmates’ masculinity.

· The battle royal portion of the #1 contenders’ tag match needed more time. It was just too much going on once to process it all. I do give them credit for paying attention to detail though. The sequence of events leading to the Paparazzi fighting with Matt/Kazarian on the ramp, which lead to the refs getting involved to try to stop it, which lead to them missing Chris Harris’ elimination was great. It gives you a match on Impact between Paparazzi and Matt/Kazarian that should be good and a feud between AMW and the James Gang that keeps him busy, but away from the tag titles so AJ/Daniels, LAX, and the Naturals can fight over them. Good booking on that end.

· Although I would’ve rather seen The Naturals ditch Shane Douglas for questioning them, I can’t hate on the feel good ending either. Good stuff on the mini-match with them and AMW. The whole thing was handled very well.

· The Senshi/Sabin match started really slow, picked up after all the stiff chops and kicks, got really good towards the end, then got really stupid, but at least it had the right ending. I still question how Sabin and company are going to be faces when they act this stupid. If turning them heel is the idea, it’s working for me at least.

· You could just hear the air go out of the crowd when the Jackasses showed up with the blow up doll. At least they got it right with the “This is stupid” chant.

· Very solid match with Rhino v. Christian. It just needed something to take it to the next level that wasn’t there. It served its purpose on the card well though by building to the final matches, but not taking away from them either.

· Ultimate X was awesome and didn’t disappoint at all. Hernandez has improved so much since he came into the company. All the hype on the greatness of Homicide was deserved. Konnan has been awesome as their mouthpiece. LAX has been the perfect foils for AJ and Daniels.

· That said, you can’t go wrong with a Styles Clash from the apron through a table on the floor and Daniels with the biggest suicide dive of all to grab the belt. What a way to end that!

· I’m sure there will be some who hated the main event, especially since Jarrett actually got in some offense on Joe, but I thought it was well played. Jarrett coming out with all the shirts was hilarious and played into his great chickenshit heel tactics of late. Love him or hate him, you have to give him credit for taking all of the belt shots. Go to TNA’s website and check out the video of the welts on his back after the match.

· More good attention to detail by TNA for bringing that one woman Jarrett knocked down and whipped back to ringside for the match. We thought that was her, and bonus points to Tenay and West for pointing it out.

· Interesting move to have Joe leave with the belt after the match. Could he be added to the main event at Bound for Glory?

· With the “big announcement” closing the show, I think it was the right move to have Jarrett/Joe after Ultimate X. I was pissed when the order was revealed, but I think it makes sense considering the announcement.

· The new time slot is a great thing for TNA, although they need a second hour of programming as well. There’s lots of talk about “Clash of the Champions” styled specials, which would help fill in the gaps.

· All in all, it was a good show that will be remembered for the announcement and the awesome Ultimate X match. The stupid Jackass-ery with Sabin and company was a big drawback. I don’t think it hurt the Senshi/Sabin match as much as some, especially since it blew up in Sabin’s face (literally). It definitely doesn’t make those guys very likable. Maybe Jerry Lynn will team with Senshi to kick some sense into them.

· The thing that stood out to me about the show was the pacing it used. Everything built from the beginning to the big announcement at the end. The first hour was okay, but definitely felt like it was the opening act. Things gradually built with the No DQ match up through Christian/Rhino. Ultimate X was off the charts, Jarrett/Rhino was a good change of pace, and the announcement delivered on the hype. The only thing I would have changed would have been moving the X Division title match above Christian/Rhino on the card. Doing that, I would’ve nixed the blow up doll idea too.

EXTRA RANDOMNESS: KURT ANGLE

First off, I have to give TNA a lot of credit for actually keeping this a surprise. No one spoiled it earlier in the day on Sunday, that has to be a first in the wrestling business, or at least it’s the first time in a long time something has come off as a legitimate surprise. When the news of this “big announcement” came up, Angle was one of the first things that popped into my head. All the talk coming out of Angle’s camp last week about MMA made me dismiss the idea, as it did for everybody else. Well played, TNA.

TNA handled the announcement well, but a lot of the hardcore fans are questioning on if TNA should have signed Angle in the first place. Now, I don’t have the inside knowledge of the business that most who do this have, but I think it was pretty obvious to most fans that Kurt was struggling towards the end of his WWE run. Actually, the injuries that piled up over his amateur and professional career were hampering him for a good long while. It’s reported that Angle, like many in the industry, turned to medication to deal with these injuries.

I can’t speak on what WWE did to try to help Angle deal with his injuries and other issues because I don’t know. I don’t know if they told him to take time off and tone things down and he refused. The company made a business decision, well within their rights, to terminate his contract as a performer for the company.

When that happened, I’m sure I wasn’t the only TNA fan who thought about Angle joining TNA. For today’s fans, signing Angle would be the biggest thing TNA could do to make an impact on the wrestling business and get people’s attention. Rhino and Christian, no matter how much hardcore fans loved them, were never treated like a big deal in WWE. Sting was treated like a big deal in WCW, but that was years ago. He hadn’t been seen on a regular basis nationally since his last big run in WCW. Angle was in a World Title match at WrestleMania this year and has always been treated like a big deal by WWE. Like it or not, WWE colors the opinions of casual fans and their treatment of wrestlers plays a part in how they’re perceived. Ask any casual wrestling fan, and they’ll tell you that Kurt Angle is a star.

Because of that, WWE wouldn’t release a guy of Angle’s stature without a good reason. Combined with some of the reports of Angle’s actions towards the end of his WWE run and injuries he sustained and wanted to work through, that makes it quite a risk for TNA to sign Kurt Angle to a contract. There’s a lot for TNA to gain if this works out, but it could also be a colossal mistake if some of the reports about Angle’s physical and mental health are true. I would like to think that TNA isn’t desperate enough to make a bad decision in this case and are went into the idea of signing Angle with caution. Some people have tried to paint this as TNA panicking due to declining ratings, but as Rick and a few others have pointed out, it’s hard to draw conclusions from ratings fluctuations of 0.1 in that timeslot.

It’s obvious, and has been well established, that Kurt Angle is addicted to wrestling. I am glad that TNA’s reduced schedule will be better for his body and mind. It will allow him to be at home the majority of the time, improve his personal life, and continue to do what he loves on a similar stage to where he was with WWE. For all the cracks people take at TNA, they are the only other American promotion with a national scope right now. If you’re not in WWE, this is as close to it as you can be. The money won’t be what it was, but it won’t be bad either considering the amount of work. I’m guessing that Spike TV is also ponying up on that due to the timing of the prime time announcement in conjunction with Angle’s signing.

The other thing that gives me some hope to this situation working out for everyone concerned is Shane Douglas. Douglas was working with TNA as a backstage interviewer and agent, and was dealing with addiction to painkillers from injuries he suffered during his long career in the ring. The company supported him (and some say asked him to seek out treatment after some behind the scenes incidents) during his stint in rehab. They promised him that his job would not be in jeopardy and would be waiting on him when he could return. They lived up to that promise, and placed him in a high profile spot managing The Naturals when he came back. Doulgas issued this quote upon his return, ““I want everyone in the locker room to know that TNA’s support is one of the reasons I am at where I am today. Don’t hide it if you have an addiction; don’t be ashamed. Come forward and get help; the company will support you.” Who knows if Kurt Angle would listen to what Shane Douglas has to say? However, it’s not a bad person for him to be around either if he’s dealing with a similar situation.

Maybe I’m naïve, maybe I’m just hoping this works out for best due to my optimistic personality, but I don’t think this is the horrible move that some do. It’s definitely a risk, and a situation that TNA management is going to have to keep on top of, and don’t think they’re stupid enough not to know that. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…

E-MAIL JASON
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Jason Longshore is your second-most-favorite wrestling fan/writer from Atlanta, GA.


  
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