Tales from the Eastside Directory -NWA Wildside TV report for 7/14/02.

-I'd like to apologize for being so skimpy with the content recently. Been busy with this 'reality' stuff. Wildside was a rerun last week (man, I love WGTW, have I mentioned that?) so there was no point in recapping that; CZW I missed because I went to a Tool concert, but it was just the burnoff matches from 'Deja Vu' (Nick Berk vs. Z-Barr, Ruckus vs. Derek Frazier vs. Sonjay Dutt) so I doubt I missed much. Wes is sending my tape today or tomorrow so there will be gallons and gallons of writing from myself.

-No one got any entrances this week for some reason, so rather than list '(no entrance)' for everyone, I'm just stating it here.

-Wildside intro.

-"Welcome back to your number one wrestling destination, and in fact, your number one wrestling alternative- NWA Wildside!" sayeth Steven Prazak. Prazak goes over last week's main event of David Young vs. Iceberg; we get a slo-mo clip of Young giving Iceberg a top-rope Spinebuster in the WarGames cage match to set things up. Iceberg falls on top of Young for the pin, Young gets his foot on the rope at two but Jeff G. Bailey employs his usual shenanigans and pushes Young's foot off. Dan Wilson tells us what we're seeing this week: A main event of John Phoenix and Rainman vs. AJ Styles and Adam Jacobs, Jimmy Rave defending his NWA World Junior Heavyweight title, and more!

-Jeff G. Bailey and Kevin Harden vs. Dustin in a handicap match. 'That Guy' has gotten his first name back, at least. Bailey wears white kneepads and does some martial arts posing to warm up. Dustin fails to show when his name is announced, so referee Andrew Thomas puts on a ten count. Bailey and Harden turn their backs to jaw with the fans, so of course Dustin chooses to make his entrance then and attack Harden from behind. Harden gets lariated down twice by Dustin. Gutshot and whip into the ropes by Dustin, Harden reverses but gets caught with a tilt-a-whirl headscissors. Chops from Dustin and he whips Harden to the corner, but he misses with his charge. Harden throws right hands, but Dustin comes back with a Belly-to-Belly suplex and then an Exploder. Dustin lariats Harden out of the ring and approaches Bailey. Bailey begs off and Dustin rears back for a punch, but Harden comes back in to save Bailey. Armwringer by Harden into a sidekick. Cover by Harden gets two. Measured right hand, whip, and Harden hits Dustin with a Belly-to-Belly suplex, then poses into the camera. Stomp by Harden, Dustin with right hands but Harden fights him off. For some reason, the tape quality gets really bad here, with lots of static. Gutshot by Harden and he whips Dustin into the corner, then hits an avalanche. Harden works Dustin over with chops, but Dustin fires back with slaps, then throws some chops of his own. Corner whip reversed by Harden, but Harden's avalanche is blocked with a boot and Dustin flies off the second rope with a neckbreaker. Dustin shoves Harden into Bailey, and that counts as a legal tag. Bailey tentatively enters, he and Dustin circle, with Dustin taking a swipe at Bailey. It looks like Dustin is going to attack Bailey, but he turns and drops Harden with the (not Britney anymore) spear. Cover by Dustin, one, he pulls up? A smiling Bailey approaches and politely asks Dustin to let HIM get the pin. Wilson: "We've just entered a bad episode of Star Trek." Bailey covers with one hand and gets the pin (4:33, 52). Umm, yeah.

Bailey takes the mic and maybe he'll clear things up for us. Bailey says that Dustin has truly earned the name Lazarus, since he's managed to survive Onyx, Adam Jacobs and 'The Winner'. Bailey promises that Dustin will get his lights back, his music back, and there's a special surprise as well. Dustin (sorry, Lazarus) takes the mic and says he wants to hug Bailey for making him into a real man. Lazarus says he's not a joke anymore and yells at the fans. Bailey then announces his surprise: A new valet to keep Lazarus on the 'straight-and-narrow', Nisa. Bailey proclaims her 'sexalicious', I'm not that impressed. She and Lazarus french while Bailey has more words for us: "Finally, Lazarus has become a real man and earned a standing ovation from all you idiotic fans! I said clap, you morons! Christ, are you too stupid to clap?" Bailey is great on the mic as always, but this angle was pretty lackluster. The match wasn't good either, with Harden being boring and Dustin being average. The upside to all of this is that we've finally ended the Bailey/Dustin feud.

-Words from The Real Slim J. Every day of his life is a challenge, everyone's always trying to hold him back, but next week he gets his shot at Jeremy Lopez. Mark my words, "Buuuuuuster" will be the next catchphrase to sweep the nation.

-Murder One vs. Rick Michaels. Murder One is Homicide under a new name. Michaels charges the ring, One tries a lariat but Michaels ducks, then fires back with a Thesz Press! Six closed fists from the mount by Michaels. One gets to his feet and Michaels gets a waistlock, converting to a full nelson but One turns into a waistlock of his own. Michaels counters that with an armdrag, holding on for an armbar. One makes it to his feet and Michaels turns the armbar to a hammerlock, but One throws two knee strikes to break it up. Punches by One and he throws Michaels into the ropes, Michaels ducks a lariat and double-arm chop and hits a dropkick. Another dropkick by Michaels and he goes for a hiptoss, One reverses, Michaels reverses that but One reverses again and hiptosses Michaels over the ropes and to the floor! One chokes Michaels on the floor and hits several right hands. One rolls back in, Michaels follows, Michaels comes off the ropes attempting a lariat but One drops down, Michaels comes the other way and One flapjacks him down. Judo choke by One, then a blatant choke. Michaels rolls out to catch a breather, One follows out and tries some more choking but Michaels punches him off. One rolled back in the ring, Michaels with a gutshot and leg lariat. Cover by Michaels gets two, broken up when One gets his foot on the rope. Right hand and Michaels signals to the crowd- there's the Double Shot! Leg hooked, but alert the authorities, New Jack is out and breaking up the pin. That'll be a DQ win for Michaels (3:24, 60). New Jack with a measured right, then he and One stomp the hell out of Michaels. Tank runs out for the save and a slugfest erupts between him and New Jack; NJ wins when he pulls out an exacto knife and nails Tank in the head. Things look to get a lot more gruesome when New Jack pulls out a sickle. One holds Tank, while New Jack stabs him with the sickle, carves it into his forehead and then runs off the ropes with another stab. Before anymore damage can be done, a chair-wielding Scotty Wrenn chases off the heels. Match started off good but didn't have any time to develop. One isn't much of a worker but he can bring the hate and intensity in his matches. Kind of disappointed we didn't get any of New Jack's micwork, but it was babyface stuff so I can understand why it didn't air.

-Scotty Wrenn talks to us. Loudly. He's a bomb and he's going to blow up, see. Tank walks in; Wrenn says while he and Tank may have issues, they're allied against Murder One and New Jack.

-Jeremy Lopez vs. Jimmy Rave for the NWA World Junior Heavyweight title. Rave's first defense. You know, these are some long recaps I write, and I'm not sure if you get anything out of them. However, if there's one thing you remember a day from now, a week from now, or ten years from now, let it be this: Jeremy Lopez is ICHIBAN!

Knucklelock to start, Rave grabs a waistlock, Lopez with a drop toehold to break that up, floating over to a front chancery. Rave counters to a ground hammerlock, Lopez with an armwringer to counter, then a snapmare and dropkick to the back of Rave's head. Rave leads some rhythmic clapping. Back to the knucklelock, Lopez with a waistlock, Rave armdrags out and gets a surprise Cross Armbreaker! Lopez panics and immediately scrambles to the ropes. Rave keeps up on the arm, with a deep armdrag to an armbar. Lopez manages to get to a vertical base, but Rave with another armdrag and right back to the armbar. Lopez again to his feet, trying a bodyslam but Rave still hangs on to the armbar! Lopez finally gets the ropes and rolls outside holding his arm.

Wilson points out how Rave is using a smart tactic, working on the arm so Lopez can't use his Elevated DDT finisher. Lopez rolls back in and he stares down Rave. They set up for a third knucklelock, but Lopez converts and we get a collar-and-elbow tieup. Lopez overpowers Rave and backs him into the ropes, but he breaks clean. Respect from Jer-Lo? I'm shocked! A second collar-and-elbow, Lopez to the side headlock, Rave with a pair of punches to the midsection and he throws Lopez off into the ropes, but Lopez comes back with a shoulderblock. Irish whip by Lopez, he drops down and tries to catch Rave as he comes back with a hiptoss, but Rave reverses into a headscissor takeover to the Cross Armbreaker! Lopez makes the ropes again, a bit slower this time. Rave works an armwringer, but Lopez counters with an armdrag and he holds on for an armbar. Lopez cinches it in and goes for another armwringer, Rave reverses to one of his own but Lopez breaks it with a back elbow. Lopez goes for a Vertical suplex, but Rave drops behind and gets a waistlock; that's broken when Lopez hits a mule kick. Pair of dropkicks from Rave stagger Lopez, but he's able to come back with a rolling elbow that sends Rave over the ropes and to the floor.

Lopez capitalizes with a baseball slide dropkick to Rave, then rolls back in and makes the first cover of the match, getting a two count. Lopez pulls Rave up by his hair and slaps him. Well, if there was any respect earlier, it's gone now. Lariat by Lopez and he appears to have things thoroughly in control, but Rave comes back with a dropkick to the knee. Rave tries his Shining Enzugiri, but Lopez ducks and smoothly hooks on an STF! Rave gets stretched violently, but he inches and is able to reach the bottom rope. Lopez is slow to break the hold. Whip into the ropes by Lopez, going for a powerbomb but Rave hits a trio of right hands and goes for a 'rana. Lopez refuses to go over, walking to the ropes and then hooking Rave into an elevated Boston crab over the ropes! Kind of like an inverted Tarantula. Lopez breaks the hold at the four count. Lopez goes for a suplex into the ring, but Rave drops back into a cradle and gets a two count. Schoolboy by Rave and another two count. Whip by Lopez and he goes for a lariat, but Rave ducks and hits a tilt-a-whirl headscissor into a Crippler Crossface! Back to the shoulder/arm, a smart strategy by Rave. Commercial break.

We come back and Lopez is struggling for the bottom rope...got it! Rave with a right hand, whip, reversed into an armwinger by Lopez and he drills Rave with a brainbuster! Lopez slowly leans over to a cover, one, two, Rave kicks out. Lopez (visibly frustrated) with seven close right hands, then he rips off Rave's shirt and chokes him with it. Kick to the ribs by Lopez, whip, Rave gets a go-behind and tries for a German suplex, but Lopez refuses to be lifted. Rave tries three times, and on the third try Lopez counters by throwing him into the ropes- and Rave catches Lopez with a Northern Lights Bomb! Rave is slow to cover but he manages, and gets a very close two count. Lopez whipped into the corner and Rave drives into him with a running shoulderblock. Lopez whipped to the opposite corner and Rave tries another shoulderblock, but Lopez backdrops Rave onto the apron. Rave going to the top rope and trying the Gravity Killer, but Lopez throws him off. Lopez on the second rope and he KILLS Rave with a double-underhook DDT, then holds on to the double-underhook after the landing and follows up with a Tiger Driver! Leg hooked, one, two, Rave somehow kicks out! Rave thrown into the corner, Lopez tries a running forearm smash but Rave moves and catches Lopez with a sudden Gravity Killer! Rave covers, one, two, NO! The crowd...isn't making much noise, but I'm digging the hell out of this match and that's all that matters. Lopez with a knife-edge chop, Rave with a slap, chop by Rave, whip, Lopez reverses. Gutshot by Lopez and he hits a sick Elevated DDT! Cover by Lopez, but Rave manages to get his foot on the bottom rope at the last second! Lopez is desperate and he grabs his Wildside Junior Heavyweight title belt. Lopez sets the belt down and goes to give Rave a brainbuster onto it, but Rave shifts the pile and gets an inside cradle, one, two, three (11:19, 89)! Rave starts off his title reign with a successful defense.

Excellent match. The crowd wasn't into it, but that's really the only detriment. The opening matwork was choice, not empty and flashy as Rave had a purpose by working on the arm. The nearfalls were really good, not finisher-killing as Rave didn't kick out of the Elevated DDT, and Rave still had the full nelson Camel Clutch as a protected finisher. It looks like they're moving Lopez into a feud with Slim J, but I'd like to see Rave/Lopez as a feud built up to a thirty minute Ironman match, or something like that. Two of my favourite workers in Wildside and they didn't disappoint.

-Rainman and John Phoenix (with Jeff G. Bailey) vs. AJ Styles and Adam Jacobs. Styles and Jacobs storm the ring, Rainman & Phoenix set up to backdrop them but get kicked in the face for their troubles. Styles and Jacobs come off the ropes and go for stereo 'ranas, but the NWA Elite tandem hold on and hit stereo powerbombs! Styles and Jacobs roll outside. Rainman brawls with Jacobs while Phoenix hits a gorgeous Arabian moonsault to the outside onto Styles! Phoenix follows that up by going back into the ring and hitting another aerial move, this time a no-hands tope con hilo that makes perfect contact with Styles.

Back in the ring, Rainman and Jacobs are going to start the match proper. Whip by Rainman, Jacobs reverses, Phoenix blind tags in and charges but Jacobs leapfrogs him and hits a flying forearm to Rainman. Phoenix, who is standing on the apron, gets clocked by a right hand from Jacobs. Shoulderblock through the ropes by Jacobs and then Styles flies in from out of nowhere with a quebrada off the second turnbuckle onto Phoenix! Styles covers, and gets a two count. Does nobody care who's legal anymore? Whip into the ropes by Styles and he drops Phoenix with a press slam. Chop by Styles, whip is reversed by Phoenix and he hits a gutshot. Another kick thrown but Styles catches it, but Phoenix flips out to his feet and hits a crescent kick. Tag to Rainman. The Soul Assassin scoop slams Styles and goes to the top rope, but Jacobs superkicks him in the knee, leading to Rainman crotching himself and falling into the Tree of Woe. Styles follows up with a sliding forearm smash to Rainman. Tag to Jacobs, but Rainman turns the tables with a low blow and tags in Phoenix. Jacobs rushes Phoenix with a double-leg takedown and ground pounds him, then throws him into the corner and works him over with more punches. Jacobs takes the time to forearm Rainman on the apron, giving Phoenix the chance to hit a spinkick (or is it a savate kick? Hard for me to keep up, Phoenix is a regular Lightningfoot Jerry Flynn out there!).

Phoenix drills Jacobs with a brainbuster and follows up with a snap legdrop. Cover by Phoenix but Jacobs kicks out at two. Tag to Rainman, double whip and Jacobs is nailed with a double back elbow. Rainman cheapshots Styles, causing AJ to rush the ring and have referee Speedy Nelson hold him back, and allowing nefarious and evil doubleteaming from Phoenix and Rainman. Phoenix splits Jacobs' legs and kicks him low while Rainman makes with the blatant choke. Rainman whips Jacobs hard into the corner, causing Jacobs to flip over the buckle and fall back right into the Buttbomb. Rainman covers, but only two. Phoenix is tagged in and he's going to the top floor- Frog Splash to Jacobs! Phoenix with an arrogant cover, getting two. Jacobs surprises Phoenix with an inside cradle but it's not enough. Stomp by Phoenix. Whip, Jacobs reverses and gets a gutshot, but Phoenix ducks a high kick and hits a sliding dropkick to the knee in one motion! I'm officially impressed with John Phoenix.

Rainman is tagged back in and he attacks the knee with stomps. Dark City Driver by Rainman and he covers, but again can only get a two count. Rainman to the mount and he fires with right hands. Phoenix is tagged in and he dumps Jacobs through the ropes and to the floor. Phoenix takes referee Nelson over for a spirited discussion about the economy while Bailey stomps Jacobs on the floor. Styles goes to chase Bailey off, taking a swing at him (but missing, much to the disappointment of the announcers). Rainman with clubbing forearms and punches to Jacobs, then sitting him on the top rope so Phoenix can beal him down. Phoenix works a reverse chinlock and Wildside Continues...

We return to see Jacobs powering out of the reverse chinlock with a pair of elbows to the midsection, but Phoenix overpowers him and throws him face-first into the corner. Phoenix hits the running Red Star Press! Remember, Phoenix trained Jason Cross. Leg hooked by Phoenix, one, two, Styles comes in to break up the pin. Tag to Rainman and he makes with the chokery. Right hand, whip and he hits Jacobs with a leg lariat. Cover by Rainman, Jacobs with a late kickout. Jacobs is dragged back into the unfriendly corner by his leg, and Rainman tags his partner back in. Jacobs with kidney punches and he whips Phoenix into the ropes, but a dropkick finds only air when Phoenix hangs on to the ropes. High legdrop by Phoenix and he covers for a two count. Whip, Phoenix catches Jacobs with an inverted atomic drop, going for a lariat but Jacobs ducks and comes off the ropes with his signature swinging neckbreaker! Both men are down, Phoenix inches to his corner and tags in Rainman while Jacobs makes the hot tag to Styles.

Styles comes in with lariats for Phoenix and Rainman. Phoenix tries firing back with a lariat of his own, but Styles ducks and rocks Phoenix with the Cliffhanger (Canadian backbreaker to spinebuster)! Styles busts out another unexpected move, driving Rainman down with the Styles Facebuster (reverse Waterwheel Drop spun to face-first powerbomb)! AJ's all about the moveset tonight. Phoenix throws another lariat at Styles, Styles again ducks and hits another one of his own. It's all broken down now. Styles throws a pair of stiff kicks to Rainman, but a high kick is caught and he's whipped into the Spine Splitta! Styles and Rainman are down and Jacobs is pounding on Phoenix. Let's be cheritable and say that these two were tagged in during all the chaos. Jacobs taking Phoenix to the top rope- SUPERPLEX! Almost a super brainbuster there. Phoenix drapes an arm over Jacobs, Jacobs drapes an arm over Phoenix, Nelson and second referee Andrew Thomas run-in and both count three (9:53, 84). Oh, the dreaded double-pin finish! Nelson awards the fall to Jacobs, Thomas awards it to Phoenix, let's split the difference and call it a draw. Phoenix cold-cocks Nelson. Styles sprints in and floors Rainman with a double-leg takedown and right hands, while Jacobs lariats Phoenix out of the ring. Jacobs and Styles stand victorious in the ring, and that's our final visual this evening.

A solid match here. It was a formula tag match, but the execution was good enough to carry things (like in the very entertaining Future Shock & Slim J vs. The Rage & Jeremy V match from a few weeks ago). There was an added demension to the match, though, with the inclusion of John Phoenix. He was a man with something to prove, showing that he hadn't lost anything in his year-plus away from Wildside. Phoenix dished out some explosive offense and threw some very nice kicks as well. Styles is best suited for these tag matches, where his weaknesses in selling and psych can be hidden. Rainman keeps improving and gets more suited to these big main events each time. It could've used a bit more time, but I won't nitpick as this was quite good on the whole.

-The first part of the show wasn't very good, with the first two matches being mainly filler and angle advancement. Rave/Lopez was good enough to make even a bad show worthwhile, though, and the main event sealed this as a thumbs up. I'm looking forward to Slim J/Jeremy Lopez next week and Jacobs/Phoenix in the near future.

Question: On commentary, Wilson was pointing out how Phoenix invented the running Shooting Star Press. Red was doing his version (the standing Shooting Star, aka Red Star Press) since early 2001. Who came up with it first? Anyone who answers gets a boatload of good karma from me.

Not much else to say here; see you Sunday or Monday for CZW, and sometime next week for my long promised ROH key matches review.