WWA Retribution 2003 2/9/2003
Written by: Arnold Furious
Following the demise of WCW it seemed clear that another company would need to step up to fill the void and at the same time a lot of former WCW (and ECW) workers not hired by the WWE were looking for a place to go. Run by Andrew McManus the World Wrestling All-stars came about in 2001. The concept being that wrestling was a global success so it needed another global company. This one running out of Australia. It lasted less than two years and was quickly superseded by NWA-TNA. They didn’t only use talent from the now defunct WCW but also gave breaks to several unknown talents who later went on to compete for TNA like Shark Boy and Trinity. They also, rather famously, gave Nathan Jones his break. The WWE cherry picked the best talent from WWA, which was basically a fit again Scott Steiner and the aforementioned Jones. The WWA disappeared in 2003 when their then champion Sting lost the title to Jeff Jarrett in a unification match with the NWA title.
WWA’s debut PPV was Inception. It was shot in Australia and featured some seriously wacky sportz entertainment including a battle royal where Jeremy Borash, the timekeeper and two guys dressed as Bananas in Pajamas were in it, a guitar on a pole match, and assorted other gimmicks. In fact every match on the card had a gimmick. Their second PPV was Stateside from Las Vegas. It was an improvement over the first show and featured some serious cruiserweight action in a precursor to the X-division. Plus Jarrett went over in the main event so it was pretty much exactly like TNA. Back to Australia for the 3rd PPV with the main event that got Scott Steiner and Nathan Jones hired by the WWE. AJ Styles and Jerry Lynn fought on the undercard, another pre-cursor to TNA’s X-division as that was their first major feud. For their 4th and penultimate PPV the WWA took the show to another area starved of wrestling but with a large fan base; Scotland.
We’re in Glasgow, Scotland. December 2002 although the PPV didn’t air until February 2003 in the USA.
BACKSTAGE Andrew McManus hands the show over to Mike Sanders. He’s commissioner for the night as Bret Hart and Sid Vicious have been in the past. To the ring and Jeremy Borash is ring announcing. His broadcast colleague is Disco Inferno.
Shark Boy v Frankie “The Future” Kazarian
Disco’s inane commentary begins to grate after about 20 seconds. These guys are out here to bust their asses and get the crowd pumped. Kazarian takes a sweet bump over the corner and SB follows with a pescado. Sharky is over huge here. SHARKBITE~! On the ass that is. The ref gets caught out and Sharky bites him too. Kazarian busts out a strong corner clothesline for 2. Sharky runs into a capture suplex for 2. Kazarian hits the chinlock and we get HEAT~! WHOA! Awesome crowd. It just erupted to get the support going. Sharky gets backdropped over the top. Kazarian with a legsweep and a springboard legdrop for 2. Even with Frankie breaking out the skills the crowd are still huge behind Sharky. The leg jam misses. Damn I bet that made his ass bone ache. Sharky SHOOTS THE FIN. Neckbreaker gets 2. 10 count punches leads to more biting. SUPER RANA~! That gets 2. Kazarian nails him with a Yakuza kick…for 2. Kazarian with the Back to the Future, his Electric Chair into a pin, gets 2. Dead Sea Drop finishes at 6.17 and Shark Boy wins the spot fest opener. **. They didn’t screw anything up but there was literally no selling at all in that. I guess they were told to go out there and do a load of spots to get the crowd into it. Shark Boy’s gimmick is so straightforward but so over at the same time.
PROMO TIME – Mike Sanders. He’s the commissioner don’t you know? The problem with Sanders is he just looks like ‘some guy’. Which is why the WWE wasn’t interested. He promises one hell of a show. As he’s talking music kicks in and then stops again. Oh great. Perfect. He names a few matches for tonight. Main event is Sting v Lex Luger. Big heat for Luger. Out comes Joe E. Legend. Oh boy. He lays into Glasgow and Sanders. Crowd is awesome here just reacting to everything with either pops or heat. Sanders mocks him and says Joe E has never beaten him. Legend says he looks like “Elton John’s life partner”, which is just a great put down. Sanders calls him “the shits” as they continue a fine piece of verbal sparring. Sanders threatens to get all William Wallace on his ass and they book a match for later. JB is busting his ass out there doing ring announcing and commentary.
Nate Webb v Konnan
Perry Saturn runs in before the bell to prove something and destroys Webb. I mean he just throws him around like a fucking rag doll. DVD. Ring of Saturn. All Disco can say is “he’s killing this guy” repeatedly. Konnan walks down here and gets the pin for the win at 0.03. I hate Konnan so making him wrestle for 3 seconds is ok by me.
POST MATCH Konnan joins the announce team and he’s blown up. That’s a shoot! Disco gives it ****. Konnan doesn’t understand what he’s talking about.
BACKSTAGE A midget gives Midajah some flowers. It’s Teo. She wants Midajah to be his valet. In comes Psycho and they argue about who Midajah will valet tonight. Mike Sanders walks in and tells them to calm down or he’ll call Willy Wonka and have them sent back to the Chocolate Factory. Sanders says Midajah is going out with both guys as the referee. Midajah points out she’s not a referee and has never reffed before. In a midget match? Is that important?
Johnny Swinger/Buff Bagwell v Norman Smiley/Malice
They have Simon Diamond as well; why not team Swinger with him? Smiley dances around and gets jumped for it before Malice is even out here. Malice is announced as being from the New Church and has his TNA music. He has “I Hate You” on his leather waistcoat. Malice mocks Buff. Suddenly it’s clear who the star is in this one. I don’t know whether he consciously re-designed himself to look like Terry Gordy but that’s the impression I’m getting. He was formally known as the Wall in WCW. Malice overpowers Buff. Neither of the heels can really get anything going against Malice because he’s so imposing. The heels don’t get much joy against Smiley as well who even has time to dance. Bagwell trips Smiley up and Swinger hits a sloppy inverted Stunner. JB points out the crowd hate Buff because last time they were here Buff called it “Glasgow, England”. Yeah, that’ll get you heat. Konnan has so far contributed bugger all to commentary. Disco decides to draw him in and whattayaknow Konnan is far superior as a colour guy providing some actual insight into the match. Konnan breaks out the background on Smiley and how he used to work for EMLL and UWFI. They run through some really slow heat on Norman. It’s competent but I’m really not interested. This crowd is hot for everything though, which is cool. Malice gets a hot tag and cleans house. Smiley gets the wind up slam on Swinger. BIG WIGGLE~! Swinger goes low in the middle of it and Buff hits the Blockbuster for the pin at 9.54. **1/4. It was formula and passable and the finish was ok. Can’t really complain. Even Bagwell looked like he cared a little. Obviously not a lot because it’s Buff.
BACKSTAGE Scott D’Amore interviews Jeff Jarrett. He’s surprised to see him there because he was unadvertised. He wants retribution on Nathan Jones and he’s here to defend to the NWA title.
MIDGET MADNESS~! – Puppet the Psycho Dwarf v Teo
Special referee is Midajah. A waste really because she sure can wrestle. Puppet shoves Teo over in a comedy opening spot. Bulldog! Midgets are hilarious. Puppet goes after Midajah and feels up her legs good. Konnan talks about the difference between American midget style and Mexico lucha-midget style. Teo fucks up the 619 and then misses off the second rope with a splash. Puppet with an F-5. Well, F-2 ½. Teo heads up top! Swanton~! Midajah is down to count and Teo gets the upset win at 3.20. ½*. Ridiculous midget action as per usual but at least it was kept short and entertaining. It’s different to anything else on the card so it’s a nice change of pace.
POST MATCH Saturn runs in here and starts beating up midgets. HAHAHA. DVD on Teo. Rings of Saturn for Puppet. Saturn grabs the mic and says he’s signed a contract with the WWA. His contract gives him total freedom. He goes after Midajah who slaps him. Saturn lays a liplock on her and forcibly makes her his valet. “Get up bitch; you’re my new best friend”.
Joe E. Legend v Mike Sanders
Sanders has spent the previous 18 months on the WWE’s books without ever making it onto TV. He was really strong on the mic as is Legend but when it comes to in ring action it’s not so great. Normally the WWE only gives up on you if you’re not good enough. I’ve never really liked Legend as an in ring talent. He manages a nip up lariat but it looks really soft. Legend manages to get over the “EEEEEH” he does after every two count. Sanders spins him around into a neckbreaker for 2. Disco makes his best call of the night after JB says Legend is “more than ‘Just Joe’”. “Not really” replies Disco. Much like the tag match prior to the midget match this is ok but it’s just ‘there’. The high spots don’t really mean anything and Legend has to resort to arguing with the referee to get over. Disco continues to talk about the tremendous four star matches he had with the Booty Man. Ok, he’s won me over slightly now. Sanders shows some obvious holes in his game like a lame spinning heel kick and really faked soft kick to the chest. Someone should have told him to stick to what he’s good at. Which is basically talking and selling. Hey, Jerry Lawler got over on that! It works for some people. Legend busts out the leg jam for 2. Legend misses a boot in the corner and Sanders hits a neckbreaker for 2. Sanders is like a really rough Randy Orton out there. Legend avoids the superkick once but catches it the second time and Sanders wins at 9.10. Even the superkick doesn’t look great. *1/2. Sanders never really learned how to work the right way. Like I said earlier when comparing him to Jerry Lawler he never played to his strengths consistently. On offence he looked routinely horrible, which is tough for a guy with so much potential. Basically he should keep his offence to a bare minimum of what he’s good at. Of course this advice is probably coming a little late for him as he’s already been written off. It doesn’t help that he came out of the Power Plant, which produced a pretty lame array of talent with no shelf life.
POST MATCH Sanders books Saturn into the Sabu-Diamond match making it a 3-way dance.
BACKSTAGE a slightly flabby Lex Luger cuts a promo. It’s pretty bad and generic. He’s done worse though like that time he jobbed to his shirt. Saturn walks past dragging Midajah. “Help me” – Midajah.
NWA title – Jeff Jarrett (c) v Nathan Jones
Jones became a star with WWA because he was one of the only big local prospects in Australia so they paired him up with one of their top guys from North America in Jarrett. Jones held the WWA title and beat Jarrett for it. As per usual Jones is all about power. Jarrett blocks a chokeslam and goes to take out the size advantage by kicking at the legs. As you probably remember from his WWE run Jones is big, muscular and powerful but gets easily exposed as he’s so green. No worse than early Goldberg matches in truth. I suspect the pressure of the big time in the WWE got to him. Jarrett gets busted hardway over the eye from a punch. Again, this was an issue with Jones. He couldn’t really work so he was just punching people. In the WWE that shit didn’t fly so he was forced to work safer. The result was a really fake looking Nathan Jones. WWA Nathan Jones is somewhat better although they put the title on him far too quickly. The other thing with Jones is I can’t tell if he’s working heel or face. He’s hitting moves and getting pissed off about not getting the pin. The referee gets in the way. Jones shoves him over and Jarrett nails him with the guitar for the pin at 5.42. He tries kicking the bits out of the ring but there are SO many pieces of wood scattered around its impossible. ¼*. Very basic.
Hardcore rules – Simon Diamond v Sabu v Perry Saturn w/Midajah
Disco wants to announce this one so up he goes. Simon, as per usual, has a problem. He’s not happy with his opponents or the hardcore rules. Crowd chants “ECW” showing there was definitely a global fondness for the ECW brand before Vince brought it back. Sabu starts out with Saturn and gets his single leg. They both go for springboards and collide. Hey, that’s actually quite an entertaining concept. Shame they have Simon in there as well because three way’s all suffer from the same problems. At least Simon is staying out of the action as much as he can what with him being the heel. Triple headlock spot and Sabu dropkicks the others out of there. HEAVEN POINT~! Saturn spears him but this time Sabu hits a springboard sidekick. Arabian press gets 2. Springboard DDT for Simon and Sabu has cleaned house. Sabu steals a chair off Disco. The others stand around talking at ringside and Sabu hits the triple jump plancha to a big pop and the “E-C-Dub” chant. Ah, watching Sabu reminds me of the time I got real drunk with Redje and we went to the pub as Sabu & RVD. I had a tea towel wrapped around my head and tried to single leg people as they came into the bar. It would be safe to say I’d had a few drinks that night. Twisted my ankle and wrapped tape around it and went back to trying to single leg people. Meanwhile this match has completely broken down. Sabu has the Ken Shamrock internal bleeding going on. Saturn himself is busted over the eye. Saturn & Simon try to pull Sabu apart with a kneebar and a cross armbreaker. Simon bails to reposition the timekeepers table. Simon goes an evil suplex off the apron but Saturn smacks him in the ribs with the chair and springboard legdrops Sabu. Sure is a lot of springboarding in this. Simon does Simon’s Series on Sabu for 2. He had suplexed Saturn first to give himself time. But not that much time. Sabu grabs the chair and throws it at the other guys. Arabian facebusters all round. HEAVEN POINT~! Sabu sets Saturn up on the table. Simon goes up to cut him off but that results in brawling up top and Sabu super rana’s Simon off. Saturn gets back up and hits the Savage Elbow on the already fallen Simon. That should realistically finish but Saturn doesn’t pin. It’s really kooky booking. Why not pin? Air Sabu for Saturn. Air Sabu for Simon who then falls on the set up chair like an idiot. Sabu goes for the triple jump but Saturn kicks his legs away. Rings of Saturn but he’s under the rope and Simon breaks it up. Simon boosts Saturn up for a fallaway but Sabu dives off with a clothesline. This has gotten very messy again. Simon takes a suplex on the floor and Saturn wasn’t watching where it was going so he clips the table. Saturn sets up a table while Simon stands there watching him. Jesus. Saturn lays him on the table and Sabu splashes him through it. In come the MIDGETS for revenge and cane Saturn repeatedly. Midajah jumps in there to say that’s enough but that gives time to Saturn to lay them both out. Erm, wasn’t she forced into that partnership? That makes no sense. Sabu in there but Saturn gives him the DVD and Simon is back up to save. Midajah gets attacked by the midgets who start stripping her. DAYUM~! Saturn covers her up to a chorus of boo’s. He seems to have lost track of the match. Sabu was beaten. Simon picks him off but can’t get a pin. Simon tries to come off the top but Sabu chair shots him. Triple jump moonsault to the shins finished at 16.18. **3/4. That really came off like an ECW match. Whether or not that’s a positive is entirely down to whether you like that style. I quite enjoyed it.
BACKSTAGE Sting cuts a promo. He’s making his return for the first time since WCW closed. He talks about how he’s built character over his career but Lex hasn’t.
WWA title – Lex Luger v Sting
Title is vacant. That would be because Steiner was the champion and he’d been signed by the WWE. Luger deliberately doesn’t jump Sting. He looks kinda fat around the face. And the guts considering its Luger. He seems to have a lot more mass there than before. Considering how Luger looked pretty ropey in the ring for about seven years before this I don’t have high hopes for this bout. Luger basically wastes a lot of time because he’s really good at doing that. He even stops off to cut a promo and thinks he’s in England. BOOO! I guess they clicked on that last time there were in Scotland. All Sting has to do is say Scotland and he gets an ENORMOUS pop. They could have just come out here and talked for five minutes and gotten better reactions. Sting says that Luger is in need of a “Glasgow Kiss”. That’s a headbutt for the North American crowd. Both guys look badly out of shape because neither one of them has worked any kind of schedule in two years. Sting accidentally headbutts Luger in the nards. Sting mounts his big end of match comeback after 6 minutes and most of that was mic work. The ref is bumped. Jeff Jarrett is back out here and he has a second guitar, which Sting gets clocked with. Luger gets the cheap pin but Sting kicks out. Ref is bumped AGAIN. Deathdrop but the ref is down. Jarrett is back in with ANOTHER guitar shot. Are you kidding me? They just ran the same fucking finish twice. Luger gets the win at 7.16. -* for running the same finish twice. That’s just so lazy. Two ref bumps in a seven minute match is pretty horrific too. And now Luger is the champion. Great.
Final Thoughts: Some of it was alright and main event aside it didn’t leave the “WCW” bad taste in the mouth. Some of the one night booking was pretty nonsensical. Like the Midajah situation. It’s like a different person booked each one of her segments. I think they were probably expecting Sabu-Diamond-Saturn to be a show stealer but it would have worked better having a triple threat if it was entirely high fliers. Diamond’s presence didn’t really add to the match. It was one of the more spotty efforts on the night. The other being the opener. Jarrett & Jones did nothing. Sting & Luger did nothing. The formula tag was very bland. It seems like the entire company had no direction. You can understand them struggling a little as their champion got signed by the WWE but hey, it happens. Moving someone up the card was probably the answer rather than drafting in an out of shape Lex Luger to run a match that scraped over seven minutes and still blew up both participants. Thumbs down for this PPV. WWA was only ever really entertaining when it was copying successful achievements from elsewhere and even then it just came off as a second rate rip off.