If you’re looking for a company with a chaotic history to take a deep dive with, look no further than Total Nonstop Action / IMPACT Wrestling! It’s time to add another promotion to the RetroView series. In its first-ever showcase on television, TNA is proud to present NWA: TNA #1 (and I am proud to present the NWA-TNA PPV 1 RetroView!) This one-hour and forty-five-minute card emanates live from the Von Braun Center in Huntsville, Alabama. What’s in store for this event? Let’s find out!
NWA-TNA PPV 1
Meet Your Commentators
We start off this event with an entrance from commentator Don West. Don West is an exuberant character in Total Nonstop Action’s lore. West would excite the wrestling faithful and would introduce “the most influential man in professional wrestling” (his words.) No, West would not introduce Vince McMahon. Don West would introduce Ed Ferrara. There is a lot to be said about Ferrara’s commentary on tonights show, but I’ll save that for a different time. West and Ferrara would toss to fellow commentator Mike Tenay, and we would get our introduction to tonight’s show. Tenay would announce our main event – a Gauntlet for the Gold Battle Royal for the vacant NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship.
Meet Your Legends
After being introduced to the commentary team, we are introduced to TNA announcer Jeremy Borash. Borash would introduce a multitude of NWA legends. First, we see 8-time NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion Harley Race make his entrance. Followed by the likes of Dory Funk Jr; Jackie Fargo; “Bullet” Bob Armstrong; Sarah Lee; Corsica Joe; Bill Behrens; and Ricky Steamboat. (Surprisingly, Jackie Fargo would be a lot more integral to this show then one would imagine.)
Ricky Steamboat would come out and speak about his time as NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion. Steamboat would compare the championship to the likes of Wimbledon, the World Cup, the World Series, and the Stanley Cup. After announcing the Gauntlet for the Gold match to the crowd, Steamboat informs the crowd that he would act as a special referee for the final two members of the world championship match. While the crowd is celebrating Steamboat’s inclusion in the match, he is interrupted by the most frightening sound one can hear in TNA.
NWA-TNA PPV 1
No One Wants This Match
Jeff Jarrett makes his entrance in the Von Braun Center. Jarrett talks down on the idea of contesting for the world’s championship in a battle royale. He says that this match “sucks.” Jarrett runs down all of the legends in the ring until Jackie Fargo tells Jarrett to “kiss his ass.” Fargo declares Jarrett to be the number one entrant in the match, which infuriates the star.
Ken Shamrock makes his entrance to convey his thoughts on the main event match. Shamrock says he hates battle royals, and that facing off for the championship in a battle royal “sucked.” However, Ken would announce his placement at number nineteen in the twenty-man match. Finally, Scott Hall enters through the crowd and says that this match “sucks” as well. However, he will compete in this match as well. Jarrett freaks out, and says that everyone will regret this day as long as they are alive.
Walker’s Words: This was a fine segment, but I find it really strange that they brought three of the top names involved in this match out to trash on the concept of the match. It was bizarre, that’s for sure.
Conversations with a Psycho
We cut backstage to an interview with midget wrestler Psycho Dwarf. Psycho Dwarf was very upset that he wasn’t booked on tonight’s show. However, he says that the two midget wrestlers scheduled for tonight’s match are going to help put midget wrestling on the map. Dwarf announced that he was excited to see some midget blood. Admittedly, that is the first time I’ve heard that one. So… there’s that.
NWA-TNA PPV 1
AJ Styles, Jerry Lynn, & Low Ki vs. The Flying Elvises (Sonny Siaki, Jimmy Wang Yang, & Jorge Estrada)
After a strange series of shots involving provocative dancing women in… cages… we move on to our first contest of the night. Out comes our first team – AJ Styles, Jerry Lynn, and Low Ki. Commentary never truly explained why these three men were tagging with each other, but that’s okay. These three guys were awesome. They are facing off against the even stranger team of Sonny Siaki, Jimmy Wang Yang, and Jorge Estrada. Let’s get into this one!
Pre-match, Team Styles would offer handshakes to The Flying Elvises. However, The Flying Elvises would reject their opponent’s offer. After turning around, Team Styles was attacked from behind. After the attack, the bell would ring and the match was on. Mike Tenay references Elvis Presley being a legitimate wrestling fan. (Legend has it that Elvis was setting up a match between himself and Jerry Lawler shortly before his passing.) Interesting note!
Off To The Races
Once things get back to normal in the midst of the ring, we have Jerry Lynn and Jimmy Wang Yang starting this off. Yang landed a cool moonsault kick on Lynn. Yang tags in Siaki, only for Siaki and Lynn to go back and forth. Lynn landed a devastating wheelbarrow facebuster on Siaki. Siaki would tag in Estrada; Estrada would enter the ring via a springboard Asai moonsault. That was a thing of beauty!
This match is very fast-paced. Low Ki eventually tags in and hits some Danielson-Esque kicks on his opponents. This match eventually becomes chaotic. Everyone is running around and hitting their finishing maneuvers. We get to the finish. Styles sets up Yang in the corner for a kick from Low Ki. However, Low Ki accidentally kicked Styles in the face. Estrada dropkicks Low Ki into the referee, who bumps hard. Yang takes advantage of this to hit a corkscrew moonsault on Styles for the pinfall and the victory in six minutes and twenty seconds.
Match Result: The Flying Elvises defeated AJ Styles, Jerry Lynn, and Low Ki in 6:20 via Pinfall.
Walker’s Words: This match was very entertaining for what it was. I was very confused as to why this match was even going on, but it was a great showcase for these six individuals. I love all six of these guys! Siaki and Styles really stood out during this one.
NWA-TNA PPV 1
Teo vs. Hollywood
We move on to the aforementioned “midget match” of the night. Already in the ring is wrestler Hollywood. Hollywood doesn’t get an entrance shown on television. His opponent, Teo, does get an entrance. Teo was referred to as “The World’s Smallest Extreme Athlete.” Hollywood attacked Teo pre-match, and the referee would ring the bell soon after.
There wouldn’t be much to this match. Teo would attempt a hurricanrana, but they both would collapse. He would put Hollywood’s shirt over his face and unloaded a litany of chops. Teo would land an elbow drop to the testicles of Hollywood. Hollywood would land a frog splash on Teo and attempt a pinfall, but Teo would kick out at two. After the worst Swanton bomb I’ve ever seen, Teo pins Hollywood for the victory.
Match Result: Teo defeated Hollywood in 2:48 via Pinfall.
Walker’s Words: This match was the definition of a “bathroom break” contest. There was not much enjoyment one could get from this performance. The crowd seemed very uninterested in this match. I don’t want to dwell on this match anymore.
NWA-TNA PPV 1
Announcing the Miss TNA Lingerie Match
After witnessing the dancing cage women, we are presented with Ed Ferrara and Don West in the ring. Ferrara and West announce the lingerie battle royal for next week’s PPV. They announce a glimpse of the female competitors in the match, and that is exactly what we get. We witness the entrance of nine different women to ringside.
Taylor Vaugh; Alexis Laree; Elektra; Erin; Joanie; Francine; Miss Sasha; Shannon; and Taylor all made their way to ringside. After being introduced, Francine would grab the microphone away from Don West, whom she would refer to as “pudgy.” She claims that The Queen of Extreme will not be seen in any lingerie. It is announced that the winner of this match will be considered the first “Ms. TNA.”
Meeting Mortimer Plumtree
We now transition to an interview backstage with a Cornette-looking wannabe. This Jim Cornette fan is none other than Mortimer Plumtree. Plumtree says that his wrestlers will only listen to him. He talks extensively about his ability to control his two performers. We’re going to see Plumtree put his money where his mouth is in our next contest.
NWA-TNA PPV 1
James Storm and Psicosis vs. The Johnsons (Rod Johnson and Richard Johnson) w/ Mortimer Plumtree
After further dancing cage women, we move on to our next contest. First, we see The Johnsons. Rod Johnson and Richard Johnson are two brothers (eventually becoming WWE’s Gymini) wearing full-body skin-tight tan suits. Next, we get the entrances of a beardless James Storm and Psicosis. Let’s get into this match.
Starting off this tag team contest are Rod Johnson and Psicosis. It wouldn’t take long after the two exchange blows for a woman named Alicia to appear at ringside. Commentary seems uncertain as to why Alicia is at ringside, but the two teams pay no attention to her. After exchanging shots, Psicosis would tag in Storm. Storm would impressively “skin the cat” after being tossed outside of the ring. One interference later, and The Johnsons are in control.
After multiple double-team maneuvers that would make AEW referees shudder in fear, Storm manages to take control again. Storm attempts a hurricanrana on Richard Johnson but is shut down quickly. One fireman’s carry flapjack later, and The Johnsons pin James Storm for the victory.
Match Result: The Johnsons (Rod Johnson and Richard Johnson) defeated James Storm and Psicosis in 4:52 via Pinfall.
Walker’s Words: This match was very strange. This was my first encounter with The Johnsons and Mortimer Plumtree, and it definitely wasn’t a great first impression. There wasn’t much impressing me in this match-up, and I was more confused with the appearance of these performers. I didn’t hate it, but there wasn’t much to it. No notable spots.
We cut backstage to two Southern boys, Bo Dupp and Stan Dupp looking to be interviewed by the female interviewer. They walk backstage, following the interviewer, and find their collective girlfriend, Fluff Dupp, backstage. They crack open a couple of beers, only for one of the NWA legends to walk backstage and ask for the beers to be put away.
“Your Kind vs. My Kind”
We cut to Jeremy Borash in the middle of the ring who introduces two NASCAR drivers to ringside (welcome to Alabama!) Borash goes on to interview Sterling Marvin and Hermie Sadler. In the midst of this segment, K-Krush makes his way to ringside. K-Krush (popularly known as R-Truth in WWE) berates Marvin and Sadler. Krush proclaims “My kind are athletes. Your kind is not. My people throw touchdowns, your kind drives around in circles.”
At one point, Marvin states “There’s a lot of NASCAR fans in Huntsville, Alabama,” leading to Tenay screaming “TESTIFY!” at the top of his lungs. Krush takes off his shirt and begins to choke the NASCAR drivers only to be halted by Brian Christopher. Christopher hits the ring and attacks Krush, leading to Krush diving out of the ring. Brian offered up a challenge to Krush – “Why don’t your kind come and face off against my kind next week?” That match is set for NWA: TNA #2.
Walker’s Words: This segment felt really off. I don’t like the verbiage of “my kind” and “your kind” in this one. If the payoff leads to something unifying or positive revolving around the race relations between wrestlers in Huntsville, Alabama, then okay. However, I have a feeling that this isn’t heading in that direction. I’m interested to see where this goes. I’m hoping that this doesn’t lead to “Brian Christopher saving TNA from the angry black man.” Nevertheless, we will have to wait and see.
Jeff Jarrett’s Vendetta Against Jackie Fargo
After another shot at the provocative women in cages, we are taken backstage to Jeff Jarrett. Jeff Jarrett decides to place both hands around the neck of 72-year-old Jackie Fargo and choke him out. Commentary brushes right by this, and we move on to our next contest. Jarrett really can’t stand Jackie Fargo, huh?
NWA-TNA PPV 1
The Dupps (Bo Dupp and Stan Dupp) w/ Fluff Dupp vs. Christian York and Joey Matthews
First, we witness the entrance of The Dupps. The Dupps are seemingly country bumpkin brothers who share their girlfriend Fluff. Next, we get the entrances of Joey Matthews and Christian York. Matthews and York were fresh off of their ECW appearances and were looking to make a name for themselves in the industry. Before the match, The Dupps attacked Yorks and Matthews. The bell rings, and it’s time to get into this match.
Stan Dupp (now known as Trevor Murdoch) starts it off by tangling with Joey Matthews. Stan gets some offense in, later tagging in partner Bo. Bo landed a nasty big boot on Matthews, alongside a big splash for a two-count. Matthews would tag in York. We would see repeated strikes from Christian York, playing up the crowd after each and every one. At a certain point, it becomes very difficult to tell who the legal man is in the match.
After York continuously yells into the ether, he lands a stellar tornado DDT. Attempting to capitalize on the momentum, York climbs to the top rope, but Fluff Dupp pulls his foot off the rope. After York is crotched on the top rope, Bo would cover his opponent for the pinfall and the win.
Match Result: The Dupps (Bo Dupp and Stan Dupp) defeated Joey Matthews and Christian York in 3:41 via Pinfall.
Walker’s Words: This match was fairly entertaining. I have no gripes about this match. It wasn’t the most impressive thing in the world, but I was entertained throughout it for the most part. This match was an incredible showcase for Matthews and York, and I am excited more about their work in future TNA matches.
Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue
Next, we bear witness to a performance from the early-2000’s favorite country musician Toby Keith. With this show occurring a mere nine months after the devastating September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the World Trade Center, Toby Keith’s performance was a deeply impactful and emotional one at this time. Keith performed his newly-released single “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue.” This is a powerful ballad about Keith’s willingness to defend his country after these attacks. The Alabama crowd seemed to enjoy this performance. However, there is one man who couldn’t stand to listen any longer.
Jeff Jarrett would make his way down to ringside, brushing past Keith in the midst of his performance. Jeff Jarrett gets in the ring and cuts a promo on Keith, telling him to get his “angry American ass out of here.” Keith looked furious and had to be held back by security. Jarrett only had one more question for The Angry American – “How do you like me now, Toby?” Now, it’s time to get into the main event of the evening.
NWA-TNA PPV 1
NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship Match: Gauntlet for the Gold Battle Royal Match
It’s now time for the Gauntlet for the Gold Battle Royal match. The second entrant in the match would be Buff Bagwell. Bagwell would be tossed out of the ring within 60 seconds of his entrance by Jarrett. Next, we have Lash LeRoux making his entrance only to be tossed through the middle rope immediately. Jarrett follows LeRoux to the outside and tosses him around ringside before tossing him back inside the ring. Jarrett would hit The Stroke on LeRoux and tossed him over the top rope.
Next up, we see Norman Smiley make his way down to ringside. The Master of the Big Wiggle would quickly fall to The Stroke before being tossed to the outside for elimination. Finally, we witness the entrance of someone who can halt Jarrett’s momentum. Gran Apolo would make his way down to ringside and take it to Jarrett. K-Krush would make his way down to ringside next, and would actually halt Apolo’s attempt to eliminate Jarrett. Commentary would question why Krush would keep an opponent from being eliminated, as would I. The match rolls on.
Picking Up Pace
Jarrett would inevitably take a breather in the corner while Apolo turns his attention to K-Krush. After attacking Apolo from behind, Jarrett and Krush would go on to double team the Puerto Rican monster until our next entrant emerges. Next up, we have Father James Mitchell’s protege Slash. Slash would also target Apolo. Apolo would gain the upper hand but Jarrett would prohibit Apolo from eliminating Slash.
After everyone targets Apolo, we have our next entrant into this match-up. Next, we witness Scott Steiner make his entrance. Wait a minute… that wasn’t Scott Steiner. That’s right, a scarily accurate Scott Steiner impostor named Del Rios would make his entrance into this match. Unlike Steiner, Del Rios would not make much of an impact. Slash would bite Del Rios, and we move on to our next entrant. Justice (popularly known as Abyss) would make his entrance. Justice would lay out everyone in a dominating display. Joseph Parks was only nineteen years old at this point in his career.
NWA-TNA PPV 1
Filling Up The Ring
Next up, we see Konnan. K-Dawg would make an entrance and leave a trail of bodies in his path. Surprisingly, Konnan would receive one of the biggest pops of the night; he looks absolutely massive! The next entrant of the match would be… skinny Joel Gertner? Wow, okay. Gertner does his typical speech and introduces one half of The Rainbow Express. Ed Ferrara refers to this wrestler as Gay Bruce. (Lord, have mercy.)
Rick Steiner would enter directly after Gertner’s speech ends. Steiner immediately attacks his brother’s doppelganger and even picks up a couple of eliminations! Rick would eliminate Slash with a T-Bone Suplex. He would also eliminate Justice with a clothesline to the outside. Malice would later enter the match and chokeslam Del Rios and Bruce. Malice would pick up a multitude of eliminations in a row, including K-Krush, Bruce, Del Rio, Konnan, and Rick Steiner.
Scott Hall would hit the ring and head straight after Jarrett. Hall would eventually hit the Razor’s Edge on Jarrett and motion towards the entranceway. It seems as though Hall is summoning to somebody (and no, it wasn’t the NWO.) Instead, it was Mr. American Angry Toby Keith making his way down to ringside. Hall motions for Keith to enter the ring, and Keith retorts by doing so. In one of the most shocking moments of the night, Toby Keith would drop Jarrett with a suplex and toss him over the top rope for the elimination. Jarrett’s reign of terror is over (for this match, at least.)
The Old Guard
After this shocking elimination, we get the entrances of Chris Harris, The Vampire Warrior (formerly known as Gangrel,) Devon Storm (formerly known as Crowbar), and Steve Corino. The match turns into a chopfest for everyone except The Bad Guy. Hall plants himself on the top rope and watches the match from a distance. This match is finally getting into another gear, but it’s about to kick a step further with our next entrant.
The Baddest Man on the Planet Ken Shamrock would make his way to the ring (alongside his horrendous sideburns.) Ken Shamrock would lay out the entirety of the opponents (all except Malice.) Shamrock attempts multiple strikes on Malice, but Malice would catch him on the final one and slam him to the ground.
Brian Christopher would make his entrance and eliminate The Vampire Warrior, Devon Storm, Chris Harris, Steve Corino, Scott Hall, and Apolo. Gosh, that was such an intense sequence! Shamrock would then eliminate Christopher, leading to two final participants.
NWA-TNA PPV 1
Ken Shamrock vs. Malice – The Final Stand
This match would now form into a one-on-one contest between Ken Shamrock and Malice. The winner of this match would become the new NWA Worlds Heavyweight Champion. Ricky Steamboat would walk down to ringside in his referee attire. Let’s get into this section of the match.
Malice would start this contest with Shamrock with an Irish whip, a side slam, and a two-count. They would repeat this exact same spot, leading to the same result. This portion of the match is going very slow, but it sounds like the crowd is going crazy for this one. Shamrock would eventually lock in the ankle lock multiple times. Malice would grab the ropes to break the hold, but Shamrock would rip Malice off of the ropes and continue the hold. Steamboat would eventually get into an argument with Shamrock about holding on to the submission, but this would subside. Shamrock would soon land a belly-to-belly suplex on Malice to pin him and win the NWA Worlds Heavyweight Championship.
Match Result: Ken Shamrock defeated Malice (and eighteen other men) in 30:56 via Pinfall.
Walker’s Words: This match was really fun. I didn’t enjoy Jarrett’s reign of terror at the beginning of the match, but it made his eventual elimination even more entertaining. I was surprised with how much I enjoyed Malice being a finalist in this match, and it was awesome to see how many consistent TNA wrestlers would first be introduced to the crowd. I’m interested to follow the rest of Shamrock’s championship reign!
NWA-TNA PPV 1
That’s Not All, Folks!
After the match, we cut to the commentary team. There is a moment from this aftermath that I feel I need to address. In reference to the commentary team throughout the night, I haven’t said much. However, Ed Ferrara went a little too far with this line. After Shamrock won the world’s championship, Ferrara stated “If you’re going to get into a fight with this guy, it’s like running in the Special Olympics. Even if you win, you gotta be retarded to do it.” Mike Tenay chastized Ferrara for this comment, but it soured me on the entire moment. This is another example of “things that haven’t aged well” from this show.
We’re not done, though! We cut to Jeff Jarrett backstage yelling at Jackie Fargo and Toby Keith. Jarrett walks out to confront the crowd and cuts a promo about how “stupid” this match concept was. He cannot stand the idea of a world championship being decided in a battle royal. Jarrett would lay out Bob Armstrong, leading to Fargo and Keith running down to ringside. Fargo announces that Jarrett would be facing Scott Hall next week. Hall would run down to ringside and the two men would end the show with a brawl.
NWA-TNA PPV 1
This show feels like a fever-dream. Three matches were tag team contests, one match was a little person wrestling match, and the final was a 20-man battle royal for a world championship. This card was bizarre, but it was still an enjoyable show. Ed Ferrara’s commentary and reference history were absolutely brutal to endure. One thing is certain – this show was a product of its time.
Despite how strange this card might have been, there were some great moments from this show. The opening contest between Styles, Lynn, and Low Ki vs. The Flying Elvises was endearing and entertaining. The in-ring competition during this era of Total Nonstop Action was absolutely stellar. While it’s not the most incredible show, it sure sets an incredible tone for the future of this company – immense highs and depressing lows.