TNA Xplosion #82 Results (12th June 2004) - NWA Total Non-Stop Action #102 Results (16th June 2004)
After a strong start, TNA seemed to stutter with it's second episode of iMPACT last week, with the weekly PPVs proving difficult to run alongside a weekly hour of television. Would TNA begin to iron out the creases with it's 3rd episode, aired on 18th June 2004 and headlined by Ron "The Truth" Killings taking on Team Canada's Eric Young, or would it be more of the same?
Ron Killings' disappointingly straight forward victory over Team Canada's Eric Young, turned out to be more of a way of getting Killings into an angle with NWA World Heavyweight Champion Jeff Jarrett than it did an attempt to put on a satisfying main event match. There were some nice touches in the match, like Scott D'Amore tripping Killings with his hockey stick, only to be chased off by Jerry Lynn, and Killings nailing a lovely overhead belly-to-belly suplex of the middle rope, but boiled down to spell of control for both competitors before Killings hit an dancey axe kick situation for a flat win. The segment that followed was a weird way to built to Killings' challenge for Jarrett's belt on Wednesday's PPV, as Jarrett nailed Dusty Rhodes (who was on guest commentary) with his guitar, before getting the best of Killings and sending him into the crowd. Killings looked like a punk, whilst Vince Russo would steal the spotlight to pointlessly mention that titles can change hands by DQ in TNA. Not good.
The show kicked off with a pacey six way bout where Hector Garza pinned Miyamoto following a Tornillo, in a match that also involved Michael Shane, Chris Sabin, Primetime and Kazarian. The match involved lots of twists and turns with guys tagging themselves in at various points, keeping the turnover of different performers high, but for a match with so much talent there was little actually worth talking about here. Mike Tenay's reference to the debuting Miyamoto being from "the Orient" and his use of red mist show an outdated view of Japanese performers even for 2004. The idea of legal men becomes a distant dream in the closing stages, making the earlier tag in and tag out situation entirely pointless. A fun opener, but mainly fluff and pretty pointless.
X Division Champion AJ Styles continued his fine run of form, both in kayfabe and performance-wise, with a victory over Mr. Aguila with a Styles Clash. Whilst it's hardly the best representation of the X Division style, it does show off "The Phenomenal One" as a performer well with Aguila making sure Styles looks his shiny best. The finish is intriguing as Styles seems to have suffered a legitimate injury being unable to lift Aguila up for a Styles Clash, grabbing his back. I'd be willing to chalk this up to selling, had the pair not immediately gone to repeat the move, that would grab the win for Styles. When Kid Kash and Dallas attempt to jump the X Division Champion after the match, 4 time WWE European Champion D'Lo Brown turned up to make the save, before cutting a promo staking his claim to an NWA World Heavyweight Championship. No, D'Lo, get yourself away from the World title picture.
In his iMPACT debut, Sabu teamed with Sonjay Dutt in a losing effort against The Naturals' Andy Douglas and Chase Stevens. Before the match began America's Most Wanted attacked The Naturals with security separating the two teams with Mike Tenay explaining that The Naturals had stolen some of AMW's clothes on the recent PPV. Nothing actually came of the attack, the tag match carried on like nothing happened and AMW weren't seen again. I thought that Dutt shined the brightest here, bringing a nice energy in both his rana littered face shine and his come back. He's far from polished at this point, but you can tell there's some real talent in there. The finish ended up a bit of mess with way too many elements coming together at once, not helped by their being a steel chair in the ring that almost killed Dutt on his Hindu Press attempt. No appearance from Raven either despite the commentary team pushing his rivalry with Sabu hard throughout.
Abyss also picked up another squash victory, this time over D-Ray 3000.
ATPW Scale Rating - 4.25
A bit of an improvement on last week's episode, which is mainly down to their being a lot less talking, as the match quality remained average, at best. There were some promising performances from the likes of Sonjay Dutt, whilst AJ Styles has quickly became the star of the show. The booking continues to be the main thing that's holding the show back, with a lack of intelligence or forethought. Having to build a PPV every week is still not helping the situation either.