TNA Xplosion #86 Results (10th July 2004) - Total Non-Stop Action #106 Results (14th July 2004)
A little worryingly iMPACT seems to be shifting to feature more enhancement contest and less to clashes between regular roster members. This started on the previous week's episode and continues on the 16th July 2004 episode that we look at today. After just seven weeks on the air, the show is already beginning to feel less important. Would there be any diamonds in the rough, though? Let's have a look.
This week's main event featured America's Most Wanted (Chris Harris & James Storm) going over Kazarian and Michael Shane after Dusty Rhodes named them the winners following a ten minute time-limit draw. I have to say that I came away being a little disappointed with the match that four-some put on, as all four have shown potential on previous episodes, but this match never didn't show much of that potential. Everyone seemed to be going through the motions with both their wrestling and character work with no one seemingly wanting to make the most of their main event slot. The action was okay, with James Storm's hot tag sequence probably being the brightest of the bout, but these men can definitely do better than they show here. A personal highlight of the match was when Chris Harris hit a Catatonic (Swinging Side Slam) so strong that it resulted in Kazarian landing on Harris' back! The Naturals and Triple X would get involved after the decision was made with the show ending in an eight team brawl.
Another disappointing tag match would open the show as Triple X (Christopher Daniels & Primetime) would best Team Japan (Miyamoto & NOSAWA) [Powerplex] in a clunky collision. It felt like Miyamoto & NOSAWA were a step slower than they needed to be at any given moment and this in turn would harm Christopher Daniels' hot tag attempt, removing any real excitement that could have been had. Neither Team Japan member has impressed me so far with what they have to offer, with fairly sloppy offence, whilst struggling to keep up with the pace of their American colleagues. It's a shame the pair were chosen to represent Japan when competitors like Katsuhiko Nakajima, Kaz Hayashi & TAKA Michonoku were all on the AJPW at the time.
The best match on the show came in the form of "The Baby Bear" Alex Shelley's victory over Roderick Strong [It Came From Japan II]. Both men are still pretty green at this point, with just over two years experience each and their best work still a head of them, but put together a short, technically sound encounter, that was more balanced than I was expecting to be. Both men hit tasty back breakers, with the match having an "Anything you can do, I can do better" type of vibe and Strong even manages a decent near fall after hitting his Death by Roderick double knee gutbuster. I'm not a massive fan of Shelley being partnered with Goldylocks and Abyss, the Baby Bear gimmick is very cringey, but Shelley himself has been impressive in what he's shown, despite clearly not being comfortable in the heel role.
There's another two matches on the show, which feature Sabu squashing Alistair Ralphs (A1) and "The Alpha Male" Monty Brown making short work of Lex Lovett, before demanding a future NWA World Heavyweight Championship match.
Tag Team Match: Triple X - "The Fallen Angel" Christopher Daniels & Primetime def. Team Japan - Miyamoto & NOSAWA
Singles Match: Sabu def. Alistair Ralphs
Singles Match: "The Baby Bear" Alex Shelley (with "The Monster" Abyss & Goldylocks) def. Roderick Strong
Singles Match: "The Alpha Male" Monty Brown def. Lex Lovett
Tag Team Match: America's Most Wanted - "Wildcat" Chris Harris & "Cowboy" James Storm def. Kazarian & Michael Shane via Judge's Decision
ATPW Scale Rating - 3.25/10
If two week's ago was the worst iMPACT to date, then we have a new contender to the crown. Three matches of any substance and I enjoyed one of them. Shelley v Strong was the best match on the show without the pair coming close to what they could do at the time, let alone what they'd be able to produce in the coming years. Two tag team matches that failed to deliver, as well as two enhancement bouts, there wasn't much else to say about this as iMPACT edges ever closer to a "Very Poor" rating.
Content by James Marston. Additional content by David Marston.