Tales from the Eastside Directory -NWA Wildside TV review for 7/25/02.

-More dated stuff this week, as this show was the last hard sell for Freedom Fight '02...which, as we've established, happened weeks ago in real time. America One REALLY needs to get up to speed with these Wildside episodes.

-Match times are thanks to nwa-wildside.com's Larry Goodman, who does his own Wildside TV reports (which can also be found at the Wrestling Observer site).

-Ooh, new Wildside intro! All new clips, new nameless hardcore metal soundtrack.

-Steven Prazak thanks us for coming (no snipe at Sports Entertainment this week?). Dan Wilson goes over the events of last week's show: Scotty Wrenn and Tank vs. Iceberg and Adam Jacobs ended up going to a no-contest (shocking). After the show went off the air, there was the predictable NWA Elite mugging. Rick Michaels and David Young run out for the save...and end up starting a fight with their WarGames team partners. Also, Jason Cross' retirement was announced, leading to the Wildside Heavyweight title being put on the line in WarGames. Bill Behrens is attacked by Blackout and as a result, he suspends Homicide indefinitely. But enough of last week. Tonight: David Young takes on Rainman in the main event. Also, G-Rated vs. Tony Mamaluke & Terry Knightonelli and an 'insane' six-man tag match (no participants announced).

-David Young has some words for us from backstage. Says he's had three weeks to think about how Jeff G. Bailey and the NWA Elite robbed him of his title. Young says that he still has his pride, and as long as he's standing, he will get his title back and Bailey will pay for what he did. "And Rainman, bah hell, you better strap 'em on tight because you're in for a war tonight!"

-Joey Styles, shockingly, is still a tool. I'm not calling your hotline, Joey; find a new job.

-Tony Mamaluke and Terry Knightonelli vs. G-Rated- Joined in Progress. Praise Allah, Ed Ferrara is on commentary for no adequately explained reason! We join the match with Knightonelli giving Kid Xtasy a hard press slam. Whip by Knightonelli, Xtasy is caught and set up for a backdrop suplex, but Knightonelli changes his mind midway and instead launches Xtasy from center ring out to the floor! Mamaluke whips Kidcool over the turnbuckle and to the floor as well. Mamaluke throws Kidcool into the guardrail while Knightonelli whips Xtasy into the ring stairs. G-Rated is rolled into the ring for more punishment. Knightonelli with an inverted DDT/neckbreaker for Xtasy. Mamaluke locks a Cross Armbreaker on Kidcool while Knightonelli gives Xtasy a full nelson Giant Swing (!), dropping that down into a ground full nelson. Both members of G-Rated tap out in short order (5:00- about 2:00 aired). The FBI seem reluctant to release their holds. Knightonelli gives Xtasy a full nelson powerbomb, then goes back to stretching him. Eventually, Onyx runs out from the crowd with a chair, causing the FBI to run off. Mamaluke grabs a mic and yells at Onyx for sticking his nose in 'family business', then promises to bring Guido Maritato at Freedom Fight. Odd choice of closing words from Mamaluke: "And Onyx, I'm gonna make you my girlfriend!" After the FBI depart, referee Speedy Nelson overturns the match decision due to excessive violence.

Not much shown, but this was effective. Knightonelli pulled out some really cool moves in this match, maybe he'd be able to get more of a crowd reaction if he did this kind of stuff more often. The G-Rated & Onyx vs. Maritato, Knightonelli & Mamaluke match at FF '02 got over fifteen minutes, I want to see it as it could be quite good.

-Future Shock and Slim J (no entrance) vs. The Rage and Jeremy V. The faces storm the ring early, causing Slim J and Future Shock to quickly bail from the ring. Slim J takes the opportunity to trip up V, giving the heel side a chance to mug him. Brandon P with an irish whip to V and a dropkick. V is thrown in the heel corner and choked on the ropes by P (all these initials make PBP easy), then Freeze adds a choke of his own. V is slumped over and Slim J kicks him low, then follows up with another kick to the face and a hard kick to the temple. Slim J covers, but only two. Tag to Freeze and V gets nailed with a kidney punch. Whip by Freeze, high backdrop. The Rage try to run in and save V, but only succeed in distracting referee Andrew Thomas and allowing Freeze to do a 'clap hands in the air' fake tag to Brandon P.

Future Shock drop V with the One Hit Wonder (inverted DDT/side slam combo)! CZW's influencing Wildside already, I see. Right hand by P and a chop. Whip by P and he floors V with a reverse elbow. Tag to Freeze and he pounds V with mounted punches. V is pulled up by his hair and thrown to the corner. Chop by Freeze, but V turns him around and throws some chops of his own- four in all. V trying a corner whip, Freeze reverses, V reverses that. Freeze reverses and turns him the other way into a pumphandle slam. Tag to Slim J, who kicks the hell out of V. V desperately lunging for a tag, but Slim J pulls him back. More stomping. Tag to Brandon P and he delivers a forearm. Whip by P into a simple right hand. The Rage again try to save their partner, and again only succeed in allowing nefarious doubleteaming from the heels. Future Shock give V a double death suplex. P trying for a suplex, but Jeremy holds on. V trying for a vertical suplex of his own, but P overpowers him. P with a front facelock now, but V is muscling him backwards and inching towards a tag. V keeps up the pressure...and tags in Mike Pittman! Ah, but Slim J had the ref distracted, so the tag doesn't count.

The Rage dispute Thomas' refereeing skills, allowing even more evil doubleteaming. Future Shock get V up- spike double brainbuster (Slim J adding the spike)! P continues the beating with a legdrop. Freeze is tagged in and he puts the badmouth onto V. Half-hour suplex by Freeze, then he applauds himself. Tag to Slim J. Slim J with chops and a whip, but Jeremy drops behind and hooks a backslide! Only two. Gutshot by Slim J and a corkscrew neckbreaker (somebody's been watching CM Punk matches) shift the momentum right back the other way. Slim J taunting V and coming off the ropes for a lariat, but V ducks and drops Slim J with a spinning Back suplex! Both guys are down and the crowd is hot- Slim J tags in both of Future Shock, while V tags in both of The Rage! Hmm, must be Lucha rules, a lot of that going around these days.

Future Shock clean house, dumping Freeze and giving P a double backdrop. Freeze is dragged back in and he gets a double backdrop as well. Jeremy V, meanwhile is out on the floor...and Slim J flies onto him with an Orihara Moonsault! Back in the ring, Pittman comes off the top with a plancha onto P, but he only gets a two count off of it. Cage gets P in Wheelbarrow suplex position and Pittman tries running off the ropes with a neckbreaker (I believe the Wheelbarrow suplex/neckbreaker is The Rage's finisher), but Freeze trips him up. P frees himself and Freeze drills Cage with the Icebreaker! Slim J is beating the hell out of poor Jeremy on the outside with stiff kicks. Pittman gets hit with the Aftershock, and P covers him for the pin (7:15). The Rage and Jeremy V successfully chase off the heels after the match, leaving Jay Freeze to point menacingly at them from the ramp (ooh, he's as mean and threatening as Rob Feinstein's lawyers!).

This match wasted no time getting started, going right to the 'playing Ricky Morton' part with Jeremy V. It was basic, but well done, with the crowd getting into things. Slim J continues to impress, being a total balls-out rudo here. Nothing fancy here, just a very watchable southern-style match with a hot finish.

-Ed Ferrara leaves commentary. Woohoo, eh? Actually, he wasn't THAT bad, certainly not as obnoxious as he is normally.

-Todd Sexton and Tony Stradlin are out to do some talking. Stradlin says it's been 237 days since the Lost Boys injured him. Stradlin says that with each day he was injured, his intensity grew and now he's about to explode. Says TNT won't be outperformed at 'the big show'. Reminds everyone that it was one year ago (at Freedom Fight '01) when TNT beat Blackout. Stradlin says they were supposed to be stars after that match, but they never got the chance to follow up. He says that doesn't want to settle things with the Lost Boys on the mic- he wants to settle them in the ring. Stradlin calls out the Lost Boys and says he wants them to understand what 'six months of pain feels like!'. Stradlin is showing his usual admirable intensity, but this crowd is absolutely dead. Sexton encourages a 'Lost Boys' chant. Crowd: "..." Sexton goes on to call out any tag team in the back. The lights go out- when they come back up, the Lost Boys are in the ring and shooting a pair of fireballs at TNT! Todd & Tony make a quick exit. Decent promo, but this segment was killed by the lethargic crowd.

-NWA:TNA ad; Ed Ferrara wants me to buy the PPV and I think he's been given way too much TV time. Don West rambles about how it's only $9.95. Please don't show this ever again.

-Rainman (with Jeff G. Bailey) vs. David Young. There's a LOT of time left in the show, about twenty-five minutes, so it looks like we'll be getting a long main event this week. Rainman verbally assaults various ringside fans. Young sprints to the ring as usual, then lunges at Bailey, causing the Wildside CEO to slide out of the ring and hide. Referee Andrew Thomas pats down Young and we're ready to go.

Rainman and Young circle, feeling each other out. Collar-and-elbow tieup and Young grabs an armwringer. Young goes to a side headlock, Rainman fights so Young takes him over to the mat. Rainman is able to flip Young's shoulders to the mat for a two count, but Young maintains the headlock. Rainman gets to a vertical base and throws Young into the ropes. Rainman tries a lariat, but Young ducks and throws a right hand, then comes out from the side with a lariat of his own. Young lifts Rainman from the mat over into a release vertical suplex. Rainman rolls from the ring to catch a breather. Young gets on the apron and signals to the crowd- rolling senton from the apron onto Rainman!

Rainman is out on the ramp, while Young is standing right by the apron. Rainman charges Young, Young backdrops him but Rainman lands on his feet on the apron. Rainman kicks Young away, then flies onto him with an Asai Moonsault! Young rolls back into the ring and Rainman follows suit. Rainman throws some right hands and whips Young into the corner. Avalanche attempted, but Young blocks. Rainman quickly goes to the waistlock, standing switch, Rainman tries to break Young's waistlock with an elbow but Young ducks and tosses him into the corner with a release Northern Lights suplex! Rainman landed himself in the Tree of Woe, so Young capitalizes with a baseball slide dropkick. Young covers and gets a two count. Snapmare by Young and he works a ground headlock. Wildside Continues...

We're back and Young is pelting Rainman with measured right hands. Irish whip by Rainman and he goes for the Heel Telegraphed Backdrop. Young counters and sets up for a powerbomb, but Rainman flips out and hits a sitout Back suplex ('Buttbomb'). Rainman with mounted punches. Whip and dropkick by Rainman. Rainman covers and gets two. Young is thrown into the corner and Rainman drives into him with a trio of shoulderblocks. Boot choke. Rainman takes Thomas over to the opposite corner to show him something direly important in the crowd, allowing Bailey the opportunity to nail Young with the dreaded Armani loafer. Rainman with a double-underhook, a pair of knee strikes, then he launches Young with a Butterfly suplex. Wilson mentions that Rainman was trained by Dory Funk Jr., so he's definitely the 'wrestling' member of Blackout.

Rainman with right hands. Whip, dropping down for the telegraphed backdrop again so Young goes up and over with a sunset flip, getting a two count. Both men roll to their feet; Young tries a lariat, Rainman ducks and hits a roundhouse kick. Cover, two count. Snapmare by Rainman, he puts a knee in the back and hooks on a chinlock to Young. Listen to that crowd! Rainman releases the hold. Left hand, whip by Rainman but Young reverses and hits a powerslam. Both men are slow to their feet. Young tries a lariat, Rainman ducks and they both come back the other way with colliding lariats. Double KO. Rainman is the first up and he tries a right hand, but Young blocks and fires back in kind. Rainman thrown into the corner and pounded. Corner whip by Young, reversed by Rainman, reversed by Young and he accidentally whips Rainman into Thomas. Young brings Rainman out of the corner with the Spinebuster, but there's no ref. Young counts his own three. He goes to roust Thomas, but Bailey is in the ring with an ether-soaked rag. Young spots Bailey and grabs him, but Homicide is out (woohoo, Sports Entertainment booking!) to prevent things from going further. Homicide lays in a beating, then Blackout drop Young with a long Violator 420. Rainman covers, and Bailey gets Thomas in position to count the fall (10:00).

Blackout and Bailey lay in some tripleteam stomping. Rick Michaels sprints out for the save and the heels scatter, but Young doesn't want any help from Michaels. Young floors Michaels with a right hand and yells at him, so Michaels comes back with a double-leg takedown and mounted punches. The two scuffle on the mat; now Tank and Scotty Wrenn are out to help restore some order. It all breaks down into a four man brawl and the crowd is completely dead. Security comes out to break things up. Bailey stands in the rampway and makes with the taunting. "When we get you in that cage, we are gonna bleed every one of you to death!" Wrenn and Michaels brawl on the floor and we go to commercial.

This match was going fine for the first half or so. I think things started going south once Rainman took over. His offense wasn't technically bad, but it was pretty bland. Combine that with the lifeless crowd and the match comes off as pretty boring, getting worse as it went along. The first half was at least pretty exciting even if the crowd wasn't into it, but they abandoned the building work for the heat segment too quickly. The brawl after the match went on way too long; they should've given that time to the match. They did a decent enough job elevating Rainman, but it would've been far more effective if they gave him a clean win. This Sports Entertainment booking helps no one.

-Jeff G. Bailey, Iceberg and Rainman are standing near a fence somewhere in the NCW Arena. Bailey hypes the FF '02 WarGames match, announcing that it's now every man for himself (since the teams wouldn't exactly be fair, with the face side outnumbering the Elite five to three). Bailey calls Bill Behrens 'racist scum' and says he's been holding Rainman back. Says that while the face side is constantly fighting with themselves, the Elite are united in their goal to make Rainman the next Wildside Heavyweight champion. Bailey tells Iceberg to stab people, and he promises "buckets and buckets of blood" in the WarGames match. Bailey grinds a tomato into the fence to express what will happen to AJ Styles' face. Bailey rants on and on about blood. This was very much a by-the-numbers Bailey promo.

-Lackluster show here. The six-man match was basic but still good, and the main event had its moments, but overall this show didn't match up. There are a lot of factors to blame: A small (only 85 people) and dead crowd, booking that had to be heavily restructured due to Jason Cross' retirement, and worker morale was in the toilet because of Cross' retirement. Better days are ahead, though, as by all reports the post-Freedom Fight '02 tapings were excellent.

Next Week: I'd assume Freedom Fight '02 highlights and maybe a complete match or two. I'll be hoping for Mark Briscoe vs. Jay Briscoe, personally.

Tomorrow night has an awesome looking Wildside TV taping, with Adam Jacobs vs. John Phoenix for the Wildside Heavyweight title, Caprice Coleman vs. Tony Mamaluke for the Wildside TV title, Slim J vs. Red and a four-way tag title match with the Lost Boys defending against the Briscoes (wait, Jay's also working ROH...), TNT and the Maximos.

See you Sunday or Monday for CZW; also, I'm still working on the Toryumon 7/01 PPV review and I'll be reviewing some ROH stuff and Freedom Fight '02 in the near future. I can't promise dates on any of that stuff though, as while I do a lot of wrestling writing, I also kinda-sorta have a life and that demands attention too.

Oh, and as usual, I (heart) feedback- send it to A Useful ldiot [lowercase L in 'ldiot']@aol.com.

-Patrick

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