Thursday, 13 January 2011

TNA Turning Point 2004 - Retro Review

Seeing as how there’s no TNA action anywhere on British television at the moment, and nowhere to see Genesis this week, I’m going to delve into the company’s past for a show I’ve never reviewed before, 2004’s Turning Point, headlined by Jeff Hardy, A.J. Styles and Randy Savage against the Kings of Wrestling, NWA World Champion Jeff Jarrett, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall.

The show began with the first title match of the evening as the 3 Live Kru, B.G. James and Ron Killings, defended the NWA Tag Team titles against Team Canada’s Bobby Roode and Eric Young.

This was a highly entertaining opener. Roode and Young, devoid of beer, money and goofiness put in a great effort here, as did the former Road Dogg and K-Kwick in what Mike Tenay kept telling us was a battle of youth against experience.

With both teams looking good it took the outside interference of Johnny Devine to turn the tide as it were. With the referee distracted Devine clobbered James with the vaunted hockey stick as he was about to take Roode down with the pump handle slam. A three count later and Roode had the title winning pin for his team.

The tag team action continued as Kid Kash, Michael Shane and Frankie Kazarian faced Sonny Siaki, Hector Garza and Sonjay Dutt.

This was a match very much in the X Division style. Kash, Shane and Kazarian were in top form as they worked over Dutt. In fact all six men put in great performances.

Garza took the pin for his team, taking Kazarian out with his corkscrew moonsault, a reminder of just how far Garza could have gone in TNA had it not been for his legal troubles.

Next up were Abyss and Monty Brown in a Serengeti Survival match, with victory achievable via fall, submission, or by being thrown onto thumb tacks.

Despite the fancy name it’s basically the same kind of match Abyss has competed in for the majority of the past six years. It’s actually quite entertaining, watching these two big guys beat the hell out of each other, especially as I was a big Monty Brown fan, hoping he’d go on to bigger things.

It was the Alpha Male who came out on top, using his alpha bomb finisher onto the pile of thumb tacks that he’d introduced into the match, although in truth Abyss barely touched them.

Then it was back to tag team action as the New York Connection (was Ricky Knight booking TNA back in 2004?), Glen Gilberti and Johnny Swinger, faced Pat Kenney and Johnny B. Badd, with Jacqueline as the special referee.

Another entertaining encounter, which saw Swinger and Gilberti working over their former buddy Kenney, attacking his back while the helpless Badd watched on from the ring apron until he got the hot tag.

Needless to say Jackie got involved and had an effect on the outcome, body slamming Gilberti after he’d pushed her in the face, giving Badd the chance to take him down with the TKO for the pinfall win.

Up next, a battle of old rivals as Raven went up against Diamond Dallas Page.

If you’ve only seen Raven during his matches last year then you’ve never seen the best of him.

This one grabbed me within seconds, it was that good. Both men put in great performances, making you believe that they had a deep, personal issue with each other.

Page took out a referee early on. They then brawled through the crowd, and kicked out of each other’s finisher. Then, when Raven’s hooded henchmen came down to the ring Erik Watts left his commentary position and sent them packing with a couple of choke slams, only to turn on Page moments later, taking a low blow from DDP for his troubles.

And after all that Page took Raven out with a second diamond cutter, finally getting the pin.

The second and final title match of the show saw Chris Sabin challenge Team Canada’s Petey Williams for the X Division title.

With Scott D’Amore watching on from ringside Sabin and Williams put on an excellent encounter, one of the best X Division matches I’ve seen.

With the Coach interfering every now and then these two showed just why the division was so hot back then, with plenty of fast paced back and forth action, and plenty of near falls, with Williams continually frustrated at his inability to put his challenger away.

In the end D’Amore’s interference came into play again as he argued with the referee while Williams took some rather ropey looking brass knuckles from his trunks and slugged Sabin. A three count later and Williams had retained the title.

The penultimate match saw the Kings of Wrestling, NWA World Champion Jeff Jarrett, Kevin Nash and Scott Hall facing Randy Savage, Jeff Hardy and A.J. Styles.

Well, that was the plan. Earlier in the evening the Kings had bundled Savage into a limo and sent him packing, which made this a handicap match.

Hall and Nash came into this one wearing flared jumpsuits as part of the Outsiders reunion tour #472.

With both Styles and Hardy acting as punching bags both sides put on pretty good performances, including Hall, who obviously wasn’t battling his personal demons that day.

Things broke down a little while the referee was taking forty winks as Hardy took a guitar shot. It was then that Savage finally made his appearance.

In truth, he looked bloody awful. All he did was throw a few punches and countered Jarrett’s sunset flip attempt with another punch, getting the pin for his team. A good match, but let down by the performance of the Macho Man.

Then came the culmination of a storyline that had been running throughout the show, as a fake Vince McMahon and Triple H ran around backstage looking for the tape where TNA wrestlers encountered WWE stars while they were in Florida filming the West Side Story promo for the upcoming Royal Rumble.

Vince actually threatened TNA with legal action over what was actually a poorly shot and conceived idea. What next?

The final match of the evening saw Triple X, Elix Skipper and Christopher Daniels, facing America’s Most Wanted, Chris Harris and James Storm, in the six sides of steel, with the losing team having to disband.

If truth be known I chose this event for this retro review because of this match, and a certain moment, but more on that later.

This was a brutal and awesome encounter. Daniels was busted open early after getting rammed into the cage, and it wasn’t long before Harris and Storm were following his lead.

Daniels and Skipper soon handcuffed Harris to the ropes so they could dish out their kind of punishment to Storm, but the Cowboy eventually got hold of the key and handed it to the Wildcat.

More brutal action followed before we got that water cooler moment. While Harris sat on the top of the cage fighting Daniels, who was standing on the top rope, Skipper walked across the top of the cage and took Harris down with a hurricanrana, all in one fluid movement.

It was an awesome move, one of the best moments in TNA history, but because it was so damn good what happened immediately afterwards has been all but forgotten as Daniels hit Harris with an elbow drop from the top of the cage. Moments later all four men came crashing down into the ring in a tower of doom-like move.

Eventually the match came to an end. With Daniels handcuffed to the ropes Harris and Storm took Skipper out with Triple X’s own finishing move, the power-plex, a combination power bomb and suplex. Three seconds later and Primetime was pinned. Triple X were no more after this brutal, violent and enthralling encounter.

In conclusion - this trip back to the TNA of December 2004 has been a real eye opener. It really has.

From the opening title match right through to the brutal six sides of steel Turning Point was a great show. There were great performances throughout, for the most part.

Randy Savage, with his dyed jet black hair and beard clearly had no business being anywhere near a wrestling ring back then, and given his performance it’s pretty obvious why the creative team came up with the kidnap plot.

But can you imagine what would have happened if TNA had gone with Savage’s request to put the NWA World title on him?

But Savage’s performance aside, this show is a fine example of TNA in it’s early years. It’s a lot better than the majority of the pay-per-views they’ve given us in the past year, and well worth checking out, even if it’s just to see that old six sided ring again. Oh how we miss it!

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